21 December 2018

Africa: EU Provides €7 Mln. to Combat Fall Armyworm in Africa

Addis Ababa — The European Commission Directorate for International Cooperation and Development (DEVCO) has extended seven million Euros aimed at combating fall army worm in Africa, according to the report from icipe.

The financial support has been provided to the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe) that would help the center to manage the fall army worm in most affected African countries including Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.

The fall army worm, a very destructive pest that is endemic to the Americas, has been devastating maize and other crops in at least 43 African countries, placing at risk the food and nutrition security of more than 300 million people.

According to the press release sent to ENA, DEVCO is committed to strengthen the efforts of the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe) in those hotspot African countries.

Director of Research and Partnership, icipe Dr. Sunday Ekesi said efforts to control the fall army worm through conventional methods, such as use of insecticides are complicated.

This is due to the fact that the adult stage of the pest is most active at night, and the infestation is only detected after damage has been caused to the crop, he said.

Moreover, the fall army worm has been shown to develop resistance to some insecticides, while the performance of such chemicals is also hindered by limited knowledge and purchasing power of farmers, he added.

Since the pest was reported in Africa, icipe envisioned the development of a science-led, African-context specific sustainable integrated pest management package for the fall armyworm, he indicated.

The icipe Push-Pull technology has been found to be effective in controlling the fall army worm, decreasing the pest's incidence by over 75 percent as compared to mono-crop maize, he noted.

Moreover, icipe researchers have discovered effective indigenous parasitoids known as Cotesia icipe which has the potential to parasitize, thereby killing, over 60 percent of fall army worms.

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