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Eastern Africa stakeholders develop joint strategy to fight Fall Armyworm

Sub-regional efforts to promote food security to intensify

Fall Armyworm threatens to compound the hunger problem in Africa and contribute to migration and resource conflicts. © FAO/Zimbabwe

29 September 2017, Entebbe - Stakeholders in the agriculture sector in Eastern Africa have developed a strategy to fight Fall Armyworm pest which is increasingly threatening food security, trade, and livelihoods in Africa, bringing together all actors in the sub-region.                                                                                                             

The strategy was the outcome of a Regional Strategy Workshop on Fall Armyworm in Eastern and Central Africa which was held from 18 – 20 September 2017 in Entebbe, Uganda. The workshop was jointly organized by FAO’s Sub-Regional Office for Eastern Africa and the Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (ASARECA) and was attended by officials from national and international research organizations, policy makers, and development agencies.

While speaking at the close of the workshop, the FAO Sub-Regional Coordinator for Eastern Africa and Representative to the AU and UNECA - Patrick Kormawa noted that Fall Armyworm is a regional challenge that requires a coordinated solution in terms of: surveillance, monitoring and forecasting, management, communication and awareness, impact assessment, and resource mobilization. He added that the sub-regional strategy identifies institutions and partners responsible for various tasks, at sub-regional and national levels.

Kormawa thanked national governments and development partners for allowing FAO to take leadership in coordinating this effort.  “FAO is grateful to countries in the sub-region for giving us the coordination role in tackling the Fall Armyworm problem”, he said. “Our mandate is to end hunger in the world and we are taking it seriously”, he added.

Developing surveillance and monitoring, ensuring sustainable management of the pest, coordination, communication & training, assessment of the impact of the infestation, and resource mobilization constituted the pillars of the sub-regional strategy to fight Fall Armyworm.

The Director-General of the National Agricultural Research Organization of Uganda (NARO) and Board Chair of ASARECA -– who represented the Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry, and Fisheries (MAAIF) – Ambrose Agona declared: “Since different countries are at different levels of agricultural research and development, a comprehensive,  transboundary, and coordinated approach will support resource-constrained countries to fight pests and diseases, while reducing their risks of becoming reservoirs for crop pests”. 

The Interim Executive Secretary of ASARECA - Cyprian Ebong, emphasized the need for collaboration and joint scientific interventions, especially since “the level of agroecological heterogeneity in Eastern and Central Africa is very high”. This strategy meeting was preceded by the USAID-CIMMYT Workshop on FAW Pest Management Field Manual Development (Sept 16-17, 2017), which FAO supported.

 

 

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