Scientists, researchers, agronomists as well experts in the control of pests will from Monday next week meet in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. There they will discuss ways of combating the invasive fall army worm in Africa.
The worm mainly feeds on maize and sorghum. It is said to be in at least 44 countries in Sub Saharan Africa and has caused African farmers more than 12 Billion US Dollars.
The African Development Bank estimates that in just two years, the fall army worm has continued its march into the continent.
It has put at risk food security of at least 200 million people who depend on maize as their staple food. “So if pests and diseases further hit the already hit farmers then it means it will be bad news,” says Maize Expert Dr Prassana Boddupali.
Last month, 35 international organisations announced a consortium to fight the pest. It is this coalition together with experts drawn from Africa, India and China that will meet in Ethiopia to seek a unified front on how best to stop the pest’s march.
‘Most of the control is revolving around synthetic pesticides whereas we need to see other forms of control coming up….approach,” says Boddupali.
The decisions agreed upon in Ethiopia, will be key in determining if the continent’s fight against hunger will succeed or will be stalled by the fall army worm.