From: Virginia Tech
Published November 17, 2017 08:11 AM

Virginia Tech works to protect Africa's crops against invasive pests

As invasive and indigenous insect pests continue to wreak havoc on crops across Africa, a Virginia Tech-led project is intensifying its work to coordinate a response that looks beyond geographic and financial barriers.

Stopping crop losses requires working across borders, said Muni Muniappan, director of the Virginia Tech-led Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Integrated Pest Management. “Fighting these pests in just a few of these countries is futile, because it will continue to thrive in the countries where we are not working,” he said.

With the United Nations signaling that hunger is a problem for more than a quarter of adults in sub-Saharan Africa, helping farmers in Africa is a crucial goal for the Innovation Lab.

Muniappan – at an emergency meeting in Entebbe, Uganda, organized by the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center – joined a group in September laying out a roadmap for controlling fall armyworm. He called for creation of a database to cover all of Africa listing the pest’s natural enemies, with the cooperation of USAID, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and other international agencies.


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