By George Munene
The Fall Armyworm (FAW) is amongst the most devastating pests to Africa’s food systems. In response to this, agriculture nonprofit Land O’Lakes 37 and Villa Crop Protection have prepared freely accessible training modules outlining the appropriate responses smallholder farmers should take to combat this pest.
Research amongst Zimbabwean farm-holders showed that those who failed to implement these control strategies had a 50% lower per capita household income than their counterparts that implemented them.
According to data from the Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International (CABI), in the absence of any control methods, the Fall Armyworm (FAW), causes maize yield losses of 21–53 per cent in just of 12 of Africa’s maize producing countries annually. This amounts to 8.3 to 20.6 million tonnes; Sh267-Sh666 billion in potential losses.
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Smallholder maize growing households blighted by the pests are at a 12 per cent higher risk of experiencing hunger.
The learning modules are meant to equip extension service providers who then disseminate the acquired knowledge and skill on crop protection to smallholder farmers. The information is however open-source; freely accessible to anyone.
Amongst the key areas the seven module course covers include: Fall Armyworm identification; Chemical and non-chemical controls of FAW, as well as responsible chemical use when combatting FAW.
The materials for each module is freely available for use and download upon registration here: https://agritraining.co.za/login