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SADC agriculture experts have called for urgent financial support to governments to ensure effective management of the fall armyworm in Southern Africa. This came out at the recent stakeholder meeting held in South Africa.

Fall armyworm is a new pest in Southern Africa, which causes extensive damage to crops if not controlled in time. The pest has 10 to 12 cycles and can continue recurring after the first spray. The meeting, which called for increased investment and stronger coordination and partnerships in responding to the pest, was organised by the Food and Agriculture Organisation.

Representatives of SADC member states, Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), donors, development partners, farmers’ organisations, academia and research organisations observed that since the fall armyworm had established itself on the continent and in the region, there was no other option than to manage it effectively and sustainably.

SADC member states and stakeholders were challenged to make strong commitments by allocating more funding, developing programmes and putting in place infrastructure for the management of the fall armyworm and other emerging and re-emerging crop pests and diseases with potential to cause food insecurity in the region.

FAO sub-regional coordinator for Southern Africa Mr David Phiri said given its adaptability and tenacious nature, many experts believed the pest would continue spreading and impacting on food security.

Agri Northern Cape

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