FAO distributes pheromone traps, mobile phone applictations to tackle fall armyworms

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has engaged in distribution of pheromone traps and mobile phone applications to farmers in a bid to preventing the spread of fall armyworm (FAW) — a destructive crop eating pest — ahead of the new planting season.  
The pest is threatening food security by wrecking farmers’ investments.

FAO has been supporting farmers and Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources (MINAGRI), to monitor and manage the fall armyworm infestation, as well as develop early warning systems to mitigate future infestations.

Under a project titled “Support to the Government of Rwanda in sustainable control and management of Fall Armyworm”, FAO distributed 1,800 pheromone lures and traps to farmers from six districts most affected; Nyamagabe, Nyanza, Muhanga, Rwamagana, Nyagatare and Kayonza in the Southern and Eastern Province. The FAO project supported by USAID.

The activity started in Muhanga District, today, December 20, 2018.

The pheromone traps mostly target male moths because they are the ones responsible for reproduction through mating the female ones to produce larvae (or armyworm).

In addition, 60 mobile phones, fully installed with Fall Armyworm Monitoring and Early Warning System (Famews) software, will be distributed to farmers from the six districts to enable them and agricultural workers to detect and report the level of infestation.  

The event to distribute the technologies is being held in Rwamagana District on 20 December 2018.

FAO has already trained farmers, technical officers from MINAGRI, and the District and Sector agronomists in early warming and monitoring of the fall armyworm.

 About the technique

The pheromone lures and traps are installed to lure and catch moths responsible for fall armyworm reproduction.
Pheromone is a chemical secreted by an animal that influences the behaviour or physiology of others of the same species by attracting members of the opposite sex or marking the route to a food source.

The pheromone traps are useful in detection of early pest infestations, defining areas of pest infestations, tracking the buildup of a pest population and help in decision making for pest management.

In September 2018, the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) communiqué stated that there is a need of a new support to fight an invasive plant-eating insect (fall armywom) that could cause US $6 billion in damage to maize, sorghum and other African food staples.

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Elias Hakizimana

Elias Hakizimana, CEO&Founder of The Inspirer Ltd,(www.rwandainspirer.com) is a professional Rwandan Journalist with Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Communication, received from University of Rwanda’s College of Arts and Social Sciences (CASS) in 2014. He served various media houses in Rwanda including Rwanda Broadcasting Agency (RBA) in 2013 and became passionate with English Online and Print Media Publications where he exercised his talent as a Freelance News Reporter for The New Times, The Independent, The Rwanda Focus, Panorama and more before he became a Self-Entrepreneur as the CEO and Founder of The Inspirer Limited in early 2017.

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