A new project in South Sudan is combatting the fall armyworm, an insect that can cause significant damage to crops, particularly maize. With more than half of South Sudan’s current population—nearly 6.2 million people—in need of life-saving food assistance, safeguarding food security where possible is essential. Launched in January 2019 as a partnership between CABI, a private sector partner – AgBiTech, CIMMYT, FAO, USAID, and the South Sudan Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security (MAFS), the project is piloting the use of a baculovirus biopesticide called Fawligen.
Scale insects – such as the coffee mealybug and cassava mealybug – are some of the least studied group of invertebrates in East Africa. However, a collaborative effort has been made to address the threat they pose to smallholder farmers: despite their cross-cutting status as pests in all plant groups, crops, ornamentals, trees and weeds.
Several organisations* in Kenya including CABI, and in conjunction with the UK’s Natural History Museum, have joined forces to train up to 30 new extension officers whose role will include identifying scale insects and communicating theirs risks and how they can be managed with smallholder farmers.
Since 2017, CABI and partners have launched a series of extension campaigns in Kenya and Uganda in the fight against the invasive pest fall armyworm. These campaigns used integrated ICT-enabled approaches combining radio, SMS, and community video screenings with the aim of improving awareness, knowledge and management practices for fall armyworm.
Although smallholder agriculture is the main contributor to agricultural production in Africa and vital to food and nutritional security, agricultural productivity generally remains low.
CABI has joined an international team of scientists calling for a Global Surveillance System (GSS) to fight a range of diseases which threaten priority crops including maize, potato, cassava, rice, beans and wheat.
Invasive alien species (IAS) have devastating impacts on native biota, causing the decline or even extinction of native species, negatively affecting ecosystems. Invasive plants, animals, insects and microorganisms enter and establish in environments outside of their natural habitat. They reproduce rapidly, out-compete native species for food, water and space, and are one of the main causes of global biodiversity loss. Species can be introduced deliberately, through for example, fish farming, pet trade, horticulture, bio-control or unintentionally, through such means as land and water transportation, travel, and scientific research.
CABI, under its Action on Invasives programme, is working to manage the already existing and potential invasive species in Pakistan. Pest Management Decision Guides (PMDGs), through the Plantwise Knowledge Bank are practical, step-by-step tools for plant doctors and extension agents to give advice following the principles of integrated pest management (IPM).
A group of scientists have confirmed the first report of an egg parasitoid Telenomus remusin Africa which could prove an important biological weapon in the fight against the devastating fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda) that threatens the food security of more than 200 million people.