CABI unveils action plan to fight highly invasive and destructive weed

Parthenium weed causes harm to the environment, health, as well as the economy.

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CABI has launched a comprehensive action plan aimed at combating the scourge of Parthenium, a highly invasive species of weed, prevalent and spreading in Pakistan.

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Citizen Scientists attempt traditional solutions against fall armyworm

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First reported in Africa in September 2016, fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda) is now present in most sub-Saharan countries, where severe damage in maize fields has been observed. Kenya is one the countries that has not been spared the wrath of this invasive pest. Since it was first reported in Kenya’s western region (Trans Nzoia, Busia, and Bungoma counties) in March 2017, it has spread to 42 counties including the major seed and maize production areas of the Rift valley, coastal, and western regions.

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Invasive snails leave a trail of destruction

By Ravindra C. Joshi and Ratcha Chaichana

Pomacea canaliculata crawling under water in a taro field. Hawai
Golden apple snail (Pomacea canaliculata) crawling under water in a taro field. Hawaii. © Kenneth A. Hayes

Invasive apple snails, formerly known as Golden Apple Snails (GAS), are an invasive species that pose a threat to crops, ecosystems and even humans. These natives of South America have spread to many other parts of the world, through both deliberate and accidental introductions. Called apple snails because they can grow to the size of an apple or a tennis ball, these molluscs can wreak havoc on both agriculture and the environment, and can also carry diseases that infect humans. Invasive apple snails have been listed among the world’s 100 most invasive species by IUCN/GISD. Belonging to the genus Pomacea, there are several species of apple snail that have become invasive. In Southeast Asia, the most important of these pest species are P. canaliculata and P. maculata (formerly known as P. insularum).

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CABI calls for urgent action to tackle the global spread of invasive species

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In response to the growing threat of invasive species, the Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International (CABI) has called for urgent action to tackle the global spread of invasive species, even as the recent fall armyworm outbreak casts doubts over Africa and Asia’s preparedness to fight the scourge. CABI is a not-for-profit organisation that draws on scientific expertise to solve problems in agriculture and the environment.

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Workshops to combat Parthenium in Pakistan

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Parthenium is an annual herb that aggressively colonises disturbed sites

A training session was recently organized by CABI in Pakistan on the identification and management of Parthenium Hysterophorous to a variety of stakeholders. These activities were part of the Parthenium awareness campaign which CABI has launched under Action on Invasives, in the Sheikhupura district (Pilot district), Punjab focusing particularly on rural communities.

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Where next for fall armyworm?

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Since its confirmed arrival in Nigeria in 2016, the fall armyworm has conquered almost 25.5 million square kilometres of Sub-Saharan Africa, reaching as far east as Ethiopia, and as far south as South Africa. Now fall armyworm has reached beyond African shores and was recently confirmed in India, with CABI warning of its now impending rapid spread throughout Asia.

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Southern armyworm identified from West and Central Africa

Edited by Washington Otieno, Roger Day and Matthew Cock.

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Figure 1. Spodoptera eridania (southern armyworm); final instar larva. Laboratory specimen. Public Domain – Released by the USGS Bee Inventory & Monitoring Lab.

The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) has confirmed that caterpillar and adult moth samples from West and Central Africa are southern armyworm, Spodoptera eridania.

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