Sahel, West Africa Infested by Fall Army Worm, Conference Hears

The Fall Armyworm is invading almost all of the Sahel and West African region, a regional conference to assess the state of the scourge and identify funding mechanisms has heard.

Convened by The Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS), the Ouagadougou regional conference noted the significant impacts of the Fall Armyworm on the agriculture system. Crop loss is affected, the meeting heard, with considerable effects on food security, declining incomes, and negative impacts on the gross domestic products of countries.

While acknowledging the centrality of science to tackling this scourge, the conference noted the difficulties related to the coordination of science and integrated control approaches.

Resource Mobilization Strategy to Address Fall Armyworm and Other Pests

On funding, the conference noted the low capacity of partners to mobilize the financial resources necessary.

The conference also concluded on the following as part of the strategy to raise funds required to fight the Fall Armyworm and Other Pests.

  • Strong political commitment expressed by the States and international organizations of the region to fight together;
  • Ensure real regional political leadership on phytosanitary issues;
  • Advances in scientific knowledge of Fall Armyworm and other transboundary and emerging pests;
  • Capitalize on the achievements of this conference to build a sustainable fight against the Fall Armyworm
  • Capitalize on all ongoing initiatives (work of the regional task force, national and regional contingency plans, and a Fall Armyworm initiative submitted to AfDB for funding, etc.);
  • Develop an ambitious multi-year regional program (10 to 15 years) to combat the Fall Armyworm and other transboundary and emerging pests with national and regional components;

Under the West Africa Agriculture Productivity Program, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) received support to manage better and control the Fall Armyworm. CORAF has been responsible for implementing coordinating these activities on behalf of ECOWAS.

In November 2017, CORAF brought together officials of the regional centers of specialization from Benin, Ghana, Senegal, and IITA to discuss measures to be taken to control the attack of armyworms and to set up an effective early warning system.

At the Ouagadougou meeting, the Executive Director of CORAF further explained these actions and how CORAF could work with other actors in the region to contain the Fall Armyworm and other pests.