Armyworms threatening Africa’s food security – AU

The African Union Commission says it is worried with the status of food security on the continent following the infestation of the fall armyworms which has affected 25 key food-producing countries including Zambia.

This is contained in a statement issued by Zambia’s first secretary for press and tourism at the mission in Addis Abab, Ethiopia Inutu Mwanza.

She said AU Commission Deputy Chairperson Thomas Kwesi Quartey said he was concerned that despite efforts to manage the fall armyworms, the pests continued spreading to other countries.

“The AU Commission is concerned that if the pest is not well managed to control its spread, the food security situation in most of our countries will be greatly compromised,”Mwanza quoted Quartey as saying.

He said the Commission has so far engaged the Food and Agriculture Organisation FAO of the United Nations to help with technical support.

Mr Quartey also said there was need to create awareness across the continent and mobilise political leaders to take action at National level.

He was speaking during a press conference at the African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia held to update Member States on the infestation of the fall armyworms.

“I call upon all technical organizations to support the AU Commission by undertaking surveillance and research on the impact of the fall armyworm and to share findings with us on a regular basis,” said Mr Quartey.

And speaking at the same function, AU Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture Josefa Sacko said it was unfortunate that the continent was being ravaged by climate change.

She said the Economic impact caused by the fall armyworms was huge as some countries had reduced their contribution from agriculture to their GDP by 9 percent.

And the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Sun Regional Coordinator to AU and UNECA Patrick Kormawa said FAO had put a high premium on Africa with regards providing information on the fall armyworms and how to manage it.

He said so far research had shown that the the pests could not be completely eradicated but can only be managed with the use of pesticides that also have a negative impact on the environment.

Mr Kormawa said in SADC, FAO was working with National Vulnerability Assessment Committees in conducting household level fall armyworm food security and livelihood impact assessment programmes in six countries including Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

         

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