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Intensified pest control in Eastern Africa

As part of a broad-based initiative to address the plant protection needs of the Eastern Africa nations, a practical training program on Pest Risk Analysis (PRA) was delivered to experts drawn from the National Plant Protection Organizations (NPPO) of Burundi, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan and Uganda.

The training program, initiated by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Subregional Office for Eastern Africa (FAOSFE) in collaboration with the Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International (CABI), was focused on early warning, preparedness, and response systems for regional plant pest risk reduction and mitigation. Practical sessions, on the PRA process, the Crop Protection Compendium, which is set to gather pest information and the Horizon Scanning Tool, that assists countries to identify priority pest candidates for regulation, were explored.

Given that the subregion is prone to multiple crop pests, the PRA training supports countries and institutions to strengthen the capacities of their experts in the anticipation, identification, prevention and controlling methods, before the pests exert significant damage on crops,” said MaryLucy Oronje, Sanitary and Phytosanitary Manager at CABI and Lead PRA Trainer.

Abdi Mohamed Hussein, Director of Plant Protection Department from the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation (MOAI) of Somalia noted, “The training was timely and useful for us because it was the first of its kind for Somalia. The knowledge and skills we attained from the training would be instrumental, as we rebuild our institutions following years of civil war.” CABI’s Deputy Regional Director, Daniel Karanja, on his part underlined the critical role that NPPOs play in mitigating the devastating effects of emerging pests on food security and trade, adding that better cooperation and coordination on sanitary and phytosanitary programs among countries in the similar geographic and climatic zones, was imperative.

“CABI will continue to work with FAO to support NPPOs in their quest to reduce chances of pest and disease entry and establishment in the subregion. We urge our partner countries to invest in effective surveillance mechanisms, including early detection, monitoring and use of rapid diagnostics tools as the first line of defense to avoid higher costs of eradication and control,” added Karanja.

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