Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

The threat of alien invasive insect and mite species to food security in Africa and the need for a continent-wide response.

Abstract

Alien invasive insect and mite species (AIS) represent a major challenge for agriculture, food production, and biodiversity in Africa. However, the lack of awareness and appreciation of AIS threats continues to hinder the development of appropriate policies and practices for their management in sub-Saharan Africa. The objectives of this review are to (1) provide a synthesis of current and future threats to food production and the economic impacts of AIS, (2) identify challenges to their management at national and regional levels, and (3) propose a strategy for a concerted pan-African response. The review identifies a total of 16 alien invasive insect and mite pests, affecting all categories of food crops, causing combined losses in excess of US$ 1 billion annually across Africa. Various models predict that AIS threats will continue to increase due to expansion of the geographic distribution and host range of existing invasions, thus threatening the already tenuous food situation on the continent. The review also reveals that only 16.7% of the countries have adequate border control procedures, while over 66.7% do not have comprehensive AIS management strategies. Therefore, we propose development of a pan-African strategy for effectively responding to AIS threats, and achieving the continental visions of free trade and collective food security. We recommend that biosecurity be considered as a food security intervention complementing yield improvement technologies, and implemented as a core element of national and regional strategies.