FAO in Nigeria

Nigeria and FAO signs Technical Cooperation agreement to curtail Fall Armyworm infestation

08/09/2017

 Nigeria and FAO signs Technical Cooperation   agreement to curtail Fall Armyworm infestation

As Minister of Agriculture appeals for enhanced FAO support to manage   crop diseases in Nigeria

5th   September 2017, Abuja - The Food and   Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nation and the Government of   Nigeria have signed a Technical Cooperation Project (TCP) agreement as part   of enhanced joint effort to manage the spread of the Fall Armyworm (FAW)   across the country.

Nigeria's Minister of Agriculture, Chief   Audu Ogbeh and FAO Country Representative to Nigeria, Suffyan Koroma both   signed the Technical Cooperation agreement at a ceremony in Abuja.

Speaking moments after the signing, chief   Ogbeh emphasized on the need to build the capacity of countries within the   Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) region for effective   management of the pest saying the effect of the pest on the Nigerian economy   was significant, as it had not only affected maize but other crops such as   rice, wheat, sorghum and vegetable crops.

"If we do not contain the FAW infestations,   it is likely to compromise our agriculture efforts in this country. I want to   make a passionate appeal to all agencies especially FAO to be on the standby   and come to our rescue", he added.

Chief Ogbeh further noted that the attack on   crops have contributed to importation of maize, causing anxiety among farmers   and a severe rise in the market prices and that steps have to be taken to curb   the pest and other crop diseases, as excessive food importation has been a   challenge to the country over the years.

On his part, Mr. Koroma said the agreement   demonstrates Nigerian government's commitment and serves as an incentive for   farmers to know that appropriate action was being taken to ease the damage to   crops and loss of income.

"Unguided use of pesticides may not only   result in environmental contamination, it can also increase the cost of   production through frequent costly spraying, which  poses a real challenge to sustainable and   profitable production of maize among small holder farmers', he noted.

FAO cautions the excessive application of pesticides

There is extra risk for heightened pesticide   residue in farm environments and the consumption the produce, therefore, an   increase in demand for pesticide application to protect crops from FAW will   translate into more pesticide exposure for humans, livestock and other   non-target organism and objects including 'natural enemies' which can often   provide FAW control.

Farmers should not panic at the sign of FAW   infestation, but to inform plant protection and extension services for   guidance on the best available solutions, Mr. Koroma stated.

FAO is providing a three-tier approach to   manage and control the FAW – in the short term, support countries   through  TCP emergency mechanism to   mitigate the outbreaks, experience sharing and training on management   options; in the medium term, support awareness raising and knowledge on   sustainable FAW management based on area-wide monitoring, develop   consolidated knowledge on biology and ecology of FAW as well as reliable data   on yield losses and socio-economic impacts; and in the long term,   support  the development of community based   Integrated Pest Management programs with emphasis on preventive measures and   focus on agronomic practices, use of tested tolerant/resistant varieties and   comprehensive and appropriate biological control programs.

The objective of the TCP includes the   establishment of capacities to detect, monitor and control the FAW   infestation in maize production. The project is expected to improve national   capacities for Fall Armyworm surveillance and monitoring in affected areas,   establishment of Public Awareness on FAW, strengthen national capacities for   FAW management, restore productive capacity and enhance livelihood in the   worst affected households.

Fall Armyworm (FAW), an invasive pest has   invaded and rapidly spread across many countries of Africa. The worm is   damaging crops, especially maize across the continent and has the potential   to cause significant yield losses. The pest is native to the Americas, where   farmers and researchers have been managing and studying it for many years.

Contact:

David Karls Tsokar

National Communication Officer

FAO Nigeria

David.Tsokar@fao.org

+234 805 343 7947