In a briefing to the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Agriculture and Food for Development this week (23 January 2018), CABI highlighted the threat Fall Armyworm and other global invasive species pose towards achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

CABI’s CEO, Dr Trevor Nicholls, and Knowledge Bank Coordinator, East Africa, Dr MaryLucy Oronje, updated the meeting chaired by Lord Cameron of Dillington on the challenges presented by invasive species around the world, including losses worth billions of dollars which threaten  Africa’s maize harvest unless Fall Armyworm is successfully brought under control.

Dr Nicholls said: ‘The global cost of invasive species is estimated at $1.4 trillion a year – close to 5 percent of global gross domestic product. In East Africa alone, five major invasive species alone cause around $1 billion in economic losses to smallholder farmers each year. Invasive species have a wide range of devastating impacts and are fast becoming one of the most critical barriers to achieving many aspects of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.’

Fall Armyworm is one of the greatest threats and has spread rapidly across Africa. CABI estimates that it could cause maize losses costing up to US$6.1 billion per annum in 12 African countries, unless control methods are urgently put in place. Over 40 African countries have now detected and reported Fall Armyworm attack on maize.

Dr Oronje said: ‘In Kenya alone it is estimated that 30% of maize yields were lost to Fall Armyworm in 2017, worth around US$200 million. Governments and regional and international organisations in Africa are coming together to identify the best way to manage this pest which threatens to devastate crops and farmer livelihoods across the continent, but much more work is required to bring this invasive species under control.’

The presentations to the APPG came just a day after CABI launched the global Action on Invasives programme, funded by UK Aid and the Netherlands Directorate-General for International Cooperation (DGIS), which aims to protect and improve the livelihoods of 50 million poor rural households impacted by invasive species. CABI and its partners are seeking a $50m investment to coordinate the Action on Invasives programme and implement a multinational invasive species framework.

Action on Invasives

For more information about the Action on Invasives programme and CABI’s work on invasive species, please visit:

About CABI

CABI is an international not-for-profit organization that improves people’s lives by providing information and applying scientific expertise to solve problems in agriculture and the environment.

Through knowledge sharing and science, CABI helps address issues of global concern such as improving global food security and safeguarding the environment. We do this by helping farmers grow more and lose less of what they produce, combating threats to agriculture and the environment from pests and diseases, protecting biodiversity from invasive species, and improving access to agricultural and environmental scientific knowledge. Our 48 member countries guide and influence our core areas of work, which include development and research projects, scientific publishing and microbial services.

We gratefully acknowledge the core financial support from our member countries and lead agencies including the United Kingdom (Department for International Development), China (Chinese Ministry of Agriculture), Australia (Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research), Canada (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada), Netherlands (Directorate-General for International Cooperation), and Switzerland (Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation). Otehr sources of funding include the fees paid by our member countries and profits from our publishing activities which enable CABI to support rural development and scientific research around the world.

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