Pests and diseases contribute to 40% of food loss leading to food insecurity. Synthetic pesticides are the predominant control method but these are associated with negative environmental and health concerns. The extensive use of chemicals has sparked a renewed interest in Integrated Pest Management (IPM) – an effective combination of control methods and the need for new innovative ways to manage pest and disease outbreaks. There are many digital systems that have been developed to identify, monitor, manage, control and predict outbreaks of a large number of pest and disease species. These systems provide useful information to aid decision-making and timing of integrated pest management strategies. By building on the successes of existing systems and data assets, this project aims to establish a digital agricultural plant health service for efficient pest and disease management in Malawi that will benefit over 100,000 farmers.
Transboundary plant pests and diseases threaten food and nutrition security and adversely affect trade and the agricultural sector’s competitiveness. In the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Member States, the five key priority pests include Maize lethal necrosis disease (MLN), Tomato leaf miner (Tuta (Phthorimaea) absoluta), Oriental Fruit Fly (Bactrocera dorsalis), Fall armyworm (FAW Spodoptera frugiperda), and Banana Fusarium Wilt (Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. Cubense Tropical race 4 (Foc TR4)). In this project, CABI is supporting the FAO-led Support towards operationalization of the SADC Regional Agricultural Policy (STOSAR) project to strengthen national and regional capacities to prevent entry, control spread and manage these priority plant pests and diseases. The project will seek to support Member States in reviewing and developing harmonized national strategies for the key pests while providing training on Pest Risk Analysis (PRA) and implementing applicable Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) measures.