Robust plant health systems and reduced pest and disease risks contribute to better livelihoods, food security, increased trade, and the protection of biodiversity in Africa. However, challenges faced by the Inter-African Phytosanitary Council of the African Union (AU-IAPSC) prevent them from fulfilling these. Challenges include the absence of clear national and regional coordination frameworks of National Plant Protection Organizations (NPPOs) which are underfunded and unequipped to implement international standards, and insufficient scientific and research capacity to address and apply sanitary and phytosanitary measures. In this project, CABI is providing technical expertise to help the AU-IAPSC implement the Plant Health Strategy for Africa as part of an effort to improve regional coordination, strengthen the capacity of NPPOs and ensure SPS security.
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.