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Fruit Flies Monitoring and Control: ECOWAS countries consultation

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Fruit Flies Monitoring and Control: ECOWAS countries consultation

The 7th regional workshop of the ECOWAS Support Project to the Regional Plan for Fruit Flies Monitoring and  Control (FFPC) was held in Banjul from 20 to 22 June 2018, in the presence of representatives of the National Fruit Flies Monitoring and Control Committees, representatives of national research centers and the West and Central Africa Council for Agricultural Research and Development (WECARD), representatives of the private sector and the EU.

In his opening remarks, Sariyang Jobarteh, Director General of the Department of Agriculture of the Gambia, the host country, emphasized on the importance of such a meeting and the efforts made by stakeholders of the sector to fight against phytophagous flies and its considerable negative economic and social impact for the West African producing countries. Mr. Jobarteh was echoed by the representatives of ECOWAS and the European Union who recalled the importance of a coordinated, concerted and regional action, as it is a fact that flies do not know borders.

With the effective integration of three new members -Guinea-Bissau, Nigeria and Togo- the FFPC is now composed of 11 ECOWAS mango-producing countries.

Taking stock of EU border interceptions due to rejection and destruction of mangoes infested with fruit flies each year, the FFPC representatives indicated a decrease of the number of interception notifications this year – 22 against 62 registered during the same period last year. Participants also recognized the benefits of integrated pest management implemented by the Project. This is the result of several methods of control (natural or chemical) that aim at reducing fruit flies pressure.

The FFPC recommends a more intensive control in areas with high infestation through alerts and integral control in more restricted areas, where mango value chain is a strong economic challenge. These measures are supported by applied research, which provides alternatives solutions such as entomopathogenic fungi (or insect-parasitic fungi), bio pesticides based on cashew balm, etc.

Representatives of the ECOWAS Regional Agency for Agriculture and Food (ARAA) and members of the FFPC Coordination Unit also urged national committees to advocate with their competent authorities to contribute further to the control of fruit flies, to ensure greater ownership of the Project at the level of each country. Côte d’Ivoire has done so, by including in the state budget a line specifically dedicated to the National Committee for the Monitoring and Control of Fruit Flies.

Another crucial aspect, since it ensures sustainability of the actions undertaken by FFPC in West Africa, is building the capacity of involved operators. The majority of National Committees is requesting for a training that will enable them to learn about the requirements of the new EU legal requirements in terms of phytosanitary inspections, which will enter into force in January 2019 – so as to better prepare for it.

The West African horticultural sector contributes to a balanced diet for millions of consumers at the local and regional level. It represents an important source of foreign exchange and employment for low-income countries. Unfortunately, it continues to be handicapped by noncompliance with international phytosanitary standards particularly due to infestation of pulps by phytophagous flies. This causes heavy loss of income for West African producers.

In order to reduce the losses so that the fruit flies are controlled and no longer be a constraint for the mango value chain, ECOWAS and WAEMU have initiated the fruit flies control project (FFCP). For a total of 23.5 M€, the project aims at increasing the fruits and vegetables producers’ incomes (particularly small producers) to contribute to food security and to poverty reduction in the sub region. Specifically, the project has to: increase the volume of fruit free from infestations that are available in local markets; limit fruit and vegetable losses due to infestation by fruit flies so that they are no longer a constraint for exports; set up organizational structures for the control of pest risks; strengthen ECOWAS capacities in its steering functions of the sectorial policy.

For more information on FFPC, please contact:

FFPC Coordination Unit

Bamako, Mali – Tel. +223 20 21 13 34

Email : plmf.coordination@sogerom.com