The Japanese government has contributed US $293,108 to support the fight against fall armyworms. They contributed through project called “Strengthening, monitoring and early warning system for migratory pests of major food crops”.
Japanese Ambassador to Malawi, Kae Yanagisawa made the contribution last week during the launch of the project in Lilongwe. She said the intervention aims to strengthen the establishment and rolling out at national level of the fall armyworms early warning system and community based African armyworm surveillance system.
According to the Ambassador, the Project will build the capacity of 1,200 extension workers from Ministry of Agriculture and 600, 000 smallholder farmers to monitor, prepare for, and effectively respond to both armyworm outbreaks.
She further added that the project would enhance integration of state-of the art surveillance and monitoring of both armyworms into national integrated pest management strategy. This, she said, is major tool for timely and effective management of these two major pests and for sustainably securing increased productivity.
The Ambassador also pointed out that the project goal is to reduce threats to food and nutrition security due to outbreaks of both armyworms. Chief Director for the Ministry, Dr. Yamira Ntupanyama said past three season’s farmers have been hard hit by outbreaks of both armyworms.
Ntupanyama added that farmers are applying various pest control options with chemical control being widely used and dependency on pesticides is not a sustainable way of managing the problem. This, she pointed out, requires huge amount of resources for purchase of pesticides and if not well managed, it can be a hazard to the farmers and the environment.
Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Representative in Malawi, Dr. Zhijun Chen said they have developed a mobile application system known as Fall Armyworm Monitoring and Early Warning System (FAMWES), which would be rolled out to all the districts through this project.