From a distance, Wycliffe Ngoda’s two acres of shiny green maize crops look healthy and lush. But the tell-tale holes in the leaves and debris on the stems give away an increasingly dangerous secret hidden in more and more maize fields across Kenya and sub-Saharan Africa. The rampant Fall Armyworm caterpillar is once again threatening harvests across the continent for a second year.
The pest, which arrived in Africa from the Americas in 2016, affected around 50,000 hectares of maize in Kenya alone last year, costing 25 per cent of the crop, according to government officials.
CABI has initiated activities with Koppert Biological Systems to increase the fight against crop pests and diseases which threaten the food security and livelihoods of thousands of farmers and their families in Kenya.
CABI has signed a collaboration agreement with Koppert to deliver more Plantwise plant doctor training in Kenya, with funding from the Koppert Foundation. This includes plans to further raise the awareness and promotion of biocontrol methods as part of integrated pest management (IPM) advice given to farmers.
A facility has been launched in Kenya to aid commercial production of a protein bait to control fruit flies in Sub-Saharan Africa. The US$250,000 facility, which resulted from public-private partnership involving the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe) and Kenya Biologics Ltd, will enable smallholders control fruit flies that devastate their fruits and vegetables.
“No matter where you’re from, your dreams are valid!” Passionate words spoken in 2014 during an indelible Oscar moment. The utterance of these words, coupled with the winning of an Academy Award, announced Lupita Nyong’o’s entry into the global stage. Two years later in Lupita’s country of origin, Kenya, long-held dreams in the plant health sector are realized.
Indeed, the journey to realizing the usefulness of mobile technologies for the plant health sector has been long, and to some extent treacherous. Was the Plantwise program setting up the agricultural extension officers for failure? Was the program having unrealistic expectations? Could it be, in the program’s quest to keep up with the times, it was essentially building an ivory tower? All these were questions Plantwise grappled with in 2014 when it introduced mobile technologies for the running of plant clinics.
Plantwise Kenya held a demonstration plant clinic at the University of Eldoret Agribusiness Trade Fair, held on the university’s campus from 22-25 September. The fair, which has been an annual highlight in western Kenya for the past 11 years, saw around 30,000 visitors exploring over 200 exhibits.
There’s a pretty simple way we could be feeding an additional 150 million hungry people around the world. It’s not through some super advanced technology or billion-dollar idea that someone just came up with. The answer has been right in front of us for a very long time:
Women. Women farmers are a secret weapon to fighting hunger.
“Approximately 300 farmer-self help groups from Machakos County and its environs under the Katoloni community-based organization have registered improved crop yields in the last one year due to high levels of sensitization on crop pest and diseases at plant clinics in the region,” writes Maugo Owiti of HiviSasa.com.
In the article, Pius Ndaka, a farmer from Iluvya village shares the benefits he has experienced from the Katoloni plant clinic.