KALRO scientists develop integrated approach to contain Fall Armyworms,
KALRO scientists develop integrated approach to contain Fall Armyworms
To control the invasive Fall Armyworm (FAW) in the nation, researchers from the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation (KALRO) have devised an integrated pest management (IPM).
The pest poses a serious threat to the nation’s economy, environment, and food security by destroying crops, resulting in financial losses, and increasing the country’s dependency on imports to meet domestic demand.
However, as a result of government assistance, farmers are being trained in the most modern, ecologically friendly methods for managing and controlling the spread of the fall armyworm by organizations like KALRO.
Farmers can get information from surveillance and monitoring data on the trends of the invasion through various IPM tactics, according to researchers from KALRO, after receiving training on suggested pesticides.
According to the researchers, the IPM concept is a holistic approach that relies on a combination of different strategies to control pests, including biological, cultural, physical, and chemical methods, and the new intervention is more sustainable and environmentally friendly than solely relying on chemical pesticides. It is led by Dr. Muuo Kasina, a pest specialist from KALRO.
According to Dr. Kasina, the fall army worm has been a problem for the nation ever since the first significant invasion was discovered in maize plantations in 2017.
According to the KALRO scientist, “the threat of fall armyworm invasion has caused farmers to grow maize with a lot of pesticides to avert attacks since it can result in a 100% crop failure without treatment.”
According to Kasina, agricultural stakeholders developed the IPM program in collaboration with scientists from 14 African nations in 2019 as part of the KAFACI initiative, a partnership with the South Korean government to address the pest’s threat to food security.
IPM, he explained, “incorporates various crop-care techniques, healthy living habits, and plant nutrition, as well as surveillance reports on invasion trends through scouting and monitoring the pest spread.”
He explained that the research and five-year program, which ran from 2020 to December 2022, were tested in Machakos, where the IPM test had excellent results.
“The initiative began with crop care, monitoring, scouting, and a boost in biological control.
Although some biological pest management measures could make insects sick, they have no impact on people, the expert claimed.
Kasina raised concern over early research that suggested the bug may easily acquire tolerance to manmade insecticides.