We are alert and ready for new plant pests and diseases!
Crop pests and diseases cause significant yield losses to smallholder farmers within sub-Saharan Africa.
More than 16% of farm productivity losses are attributable to crop pests; this is expected to get worse with the effects of climate change in the region. What is IITA’s response to these challenges? Is the Institute already investing resources to respond to them?
The IITA Plant Production & Health Management (PPHM) Strategic Plan (2012-2020) presented by David Chikoye, Director for Southern Africa and for PPHM, is a masterplan of IITA’s response to these important questions. The Institute plans to respond by offering smallholder farmers innovative crop management options, environment-friendly pest management options, technology, and knowledge sharing as well as establishing effective partnerships through which coordinated actions can be implemented to ensure a food-secure Africa.
Progress is already being realized with integrated Striga management in maize, weed management in cassava systems, and aflatoxin mitigation in maize and groundnut. Some of the emerging crop pests and diseases that the IITA PPHM team have trained their sights on for future action include pesticide resistance in Maruca, Alectra in soybean, maize lethal necrosis disease, banana fungal wilt (TR4), yam tuber beetles, spittle bugs on maize, and papaya mealybug (cassava).