ZAMBIA: FAO STRENGTHENS SOUTHERN AFRICAN COUNTRIES TO FIGHT CROP PEST OUTBREAK

LUSAKA, The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said that it has managed to build capacity in southern Africa and elsewhere to combat possible armyworm outbreaks in the fall.

The crop-munching pests broke out in the region during the 2016-2017 farming season, destroying large swathes of planted crops. Reports in Zambia have indicated a possible outbreak in the 2017 farming season.

George Okech, the FAO representative in Zambia, said capacity-building programs, especially on early warning systems, have been conducted to prepare the countries against the pests.

“We are currently collaborating with the (Zambian) Ministry of Agriculture and agriculture research institutions in order to build capacity in them. We have … provided expert and technical programs … to detect and prevent the pests,” Okech said.

Pheromone traps and lures have been placed in strategic areas to trap the moth. Other innovative technologies such as drones and remote sensing were being considered, he said.

According to Okech, FAO has distributed 2,600 traps to the countries.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK