FAO launches guide to tackle Fall Armyworm in Africa

Faced with the infestation of millions of hectares of maize, most in the hands of smallholder farmers, and the relentless spread of Fall Armyworm (FAW) across most of Africa, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) launched today a comprehensive guide on the integrated pest management of the FAW on maize.

The guide was developed with a host of partners: International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE), Lancaster University, Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International (CABI), Empresa Brasileira de Pesquisa Agropecuária (EMBRAPA), Colegio de la Frontera Sur (ECOSUR) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).


It will help smallholder farmers and frontline agricultural staff to manage FAW more effectively amidst fears that FAW may push more people into hunger. Central and Southern Africa are particularly on high alert, as the main maize growing season is currently underway in these regions.

Based on a learning-by-doing approach and designed for Farmers Field Schools, the guide is packed with hands-on advice. It provides support for a correct identification of this new foe for African farmers, and offers options to manage it in an integrated, ecological and sustainable way.

“We know that farmer education and community action are critical in best managing FAW, and curbing its spread as much as possible,” said Maria Helena Semedo, FAO Deputy Director-General.

“The guide builds on the experiences of farmers and researchers from the Americas who have been dealing with the pest for centuries as well on new technology and lessons learnt so far in Africa. It gives African farmers and frontline agricultural workers the practical advice they need to tackle FAW head-on,” added Semedo.

FAO also calls on those African countries likely to be affected soon, given the current distribution of FAW in Africa, to get prepared by: re-enforcing early warning systems at community level, raising awareness among farmers, and using available materials, such as the guide.

By early 2018, only 10 (mostly in the north of the continent) out of the 54 African states and territories have not reported infestations by the invasive pest.

The Guide on Integrated Management of the FAW on maize up close

“As FAW is new to Africa, farmers’ and crop protection and extension workers’ good understanding of the pest’s behavior and management practices are crucial in effectively managing it without damaging human health and the environment,” said Bukar Tijani, FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Africa.

Key guidelines and advice on effectively and sustainably managing FAW include:

  • Visit the field and look at the status of the crop: its health and signs of presence of the FAW. Farmers can take direct action by crushing egg masses and young larvae.
  • FAW damage can look alarming, but maize plants have a good capacity to compensate for that damage and often little yield is lost.
  • Learn about FAW behaviour. For example: understanding how and where the adult female moth lays her eggs can help determine where to plant mixed crops to prevent further spread of FAW.
  • Understand the important role of natural biological control in managing FAW. Studies have shown that FAW suffers up to 56 percent mortality from parasitoids (beneficial insects such as tiny wasps killing eggs or larvae of the FAW) alone.
    • Farmers must be able to recognize the FAW natural enemies and learn how to conserve and enhance them. Ants have already shown to be important FAW predators.
    • Fields in Nigeria have already shown high levels of natural FAW mortality due to fungal and viral entomopathogens (pathogenic organisms killing FAW larvae). Farmers can ‘recycle’ these naturally-occurring pathogens.
    • Farmers can try “local remedies”, including application of ash, lime, sand, or soil directly into infested whorls, already successfully used by some African farmers against FAW.

Pesticides versus bio-pesticides: what should be used to fight FAW?

The guide recommends that at a national policy level, information and recommendations regarding the role of pesticides in FAW management are urgently needed.

The guide warns that insecticide applications are costly, may not work because of resistance, poor application techniques, or low-quality pesticides, and will negatively affect FAW’s natural enemies.

Although farmers may receive insecticides free this year, and maybe next, it is doubtful if they will still be receiving them in the longer-term. Alternative and sustainable solutions must be found as FAW is in Africa to stay and will be infesting maize fields for many years.

The actions taken to date in most countries have been limited to the use of synthetic pesticides (especially organophosphates, synthetic pyrethroids, a few neonicotinoids, and in some cases cocktails of pesticides). In some countries, the pesticide applications were mainly emergency responses, not based on a cost-benefit evaluation.

Older pesticide molecules, recognized as hazardous and banned in industrialized countries, are often still readily available and widely used in African countries. These products put farmers’ health and their environments at risk. Their use may also result in pesticide residue levels that could jeopardize the marketability of crops both on domestic and export markets.

Bio-pesticides, including those based on bacteria, virus, and fungus have been tested, developed, registered and used successfully in the Americas.

The use of botanical and biological insecticides (certain strains of Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), fungi and virus) to manage FAW has been reported to be effective in several sources, but bio-pesticides are not always locally available in the affected countries.

Tackling FAW

Farmer Field Schools have been supported by FAO for over twenty-five years and have proven an effective approach to reaching millions of smallholder farmers and successfully engage them in a learning process resulting in better management of their crops and natural resources.

FAO has been already rolling out Training of Trainers on how to manage FAW for frontline crop protection and extension in countries most affected by FAW.

“With this guide, FAO will begin a continent-wide program of training master trainers to initiate an All-Africa Programme of Farmer Field Schools for the sustainable management of FAW. Over the next five years, FAO and partners aim to reach 10 million farmers through 40,000 Farmer Field Schools across Africa,” said Allan Hruska, FAO Principal Technical Coordinator on Fall Armyworm.

Work is also underway to launch a FAW Monitoring and Early Warning System (FAMEWS) app in Madagascar, Zambia, and South Africa, and then gradually roll-it out across the continent. Already tested, the FAO app will enable farmers to send vital info about their crops’ health, helping to generate detailed and reliable knowledge on FAW infestation levels, FAW adult population levels, and on the outcomes of actions taken against FAW.

FAO and its partners have been at the forefront in tackling FAW, and continue to support prevention, early warning and effective response.

In addition to the FFS guide and its roll-out across Africa, FAO took immediate steps as soon as FAW was detected in Africa by: bringing together experts to share knowledge and experiences on sustainable FAW management; giving farmers and frontline agricultural workers the understanding, experience and confidence to tackle FAW; supporting countries to mitigate pest damage, develop action plans, and train extension workers and farmers.

FAO also developed a Framework for Partnership for sustainable management of FAW to provide guidance for the development of FAW-related projects and programmes and ensure synergies and complementarities among the different development partners.

Source: FOA News

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Women farmers in Kano accuse govt of exclusion

Female farmers in Kano state have alleged that they are being excluded in the various agricultural schemes and empowerment programmes, especially those implemented by the state government.

Women farmers Nig

Chairperson of the women wing of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) in the state, Fatima Sharif, who spoke to journalists in Kano lamented that female farmers in the state had been abandoned to their fate without being factored into various empowerment programmes run by the state government.

“It is discouraging to see that after being courageous enough and our subsequent engagement in what is termed as male dominated profession, women farmers in Kano state are left out in most of the empowerment projects embarked upon by the government,” she said.

She regretted that despite being responsive to calls by the state government to invest in agriculture, they had been totally disappointed.

Sharif revealed that some women farmers in the state were considering abandoning agricultural production.

“We have formed associations and also followed all the needed procedures and yet we are relegated to no place in government priority list,” she lamented.


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Decomposing sources of Nigerian inequality is more useful than releasing overall inequality index

By Emmanuel Olorunfemi

Decomposing Inequality in Nigeria 1

One thing that is common where you have a group of people is their differences, which is often seen by people in the group as unique character of those individuals. In a like manner, inequality is something that different people experience in various dimensions. But still the Law of Nigeria for example, sees every person as equal before the law and economics science tries to see income or any type of inequalities as injustice. In essence, inequality is responsible for a number of segregation in human societies like Nigeria.

Inequality is the reason for some people to travel on air while others travel on road; it is equally the reason why some people have ten cars but others have none. Inequality is also the reason why some parents train their children in foreign advanced universities, like most politicians, while others can’t afford to train their children in public universities, such as peasant farmers.

It is what makes some homes to eat the same meal through the week but other homes not to repeat a meal in a week. Inequality is the same reason why more men own more property than their women counterparts in an economy, just because of entitlement status of men in many cases.

There are countless examples that illustrate inequality in Nigeria and these dimensions are fundamentally responsible for much of the development issues we are facing.

NBS Inequality Report

On this backdrop, on 10th of this month, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) published a report titled “Inequality snapshot 2003, 2004, 2016” Though the report shows progress in the country’s path to an egalitarian society; NBS needs to do more by decomposing sources of inequality so policymakers can design appropriate policy to reduce poverty and inequality in Nigeria.


Source: NBS, 2018

As reported, there is improvement in Nigeria towards equal society in term of income distribution or consumption share. For our simple understanding, an increase in Gini or Theil index indicates worsen inequality while a reduction in either of the index signifies improved inequality. Thus, Nigerian inequality gap widens (increases) between 2004 and 2013 but closes (reduces) between 2013 and 2016.

First, comparing 2004 and 2013 income distribution favour the rich in the society; conversely in 2016 there was little improvement for middle class against other two classes as shown in the table below. Therefore, Nigeria inequality index worsen between 2004 and 2013 but it improved between 2013 and 2016. However, the improvement is not to the lower class that needs it most but to the middle class who are only facing relative poverty. In essence, exclusion continues to get worse in Nigeria.

Second, the amount of goods and services consume by Nigerian households and individuals also show the level of inequality. Though the year on year shows improvement between 2013 and 2016, the share of consumption shows a worsen inequality for the lower classes; their consumption drop by 0.08 per cent within the same period.

Third, using the 2016 nominal gross domestic product (GDP) for Nigeria, which stood at ₦101.59 trillion, the tenth richest Nigerians consume ₦31.6 trillion while the tenth poorest  Nigerians consume ₦2.71 trillion. Meanwhile, we all know according to United Nations figure that the number of people below poverty line in Nigeria is 62.6 per cent; that is about 105 million Nigerians who consume just 8.6 per cent of what tenth (probably less than two thousand Nigerians) richest Nigerians consume.

Decomposing sources of inequality

It is obvious from the above that Nigeria remains one of the most unequal countries in the world. As staggering as this difference between the super-rich and the poor of the poors might seem, if analyses are done further to decompose the population by poverty line, for instance, more evidence of inequality will surface.

In order to understand dynamics of overall inequality, there is greater need to decompose sources of inequality in Nigeria. Decomposing sources of inequality indexes by income, rural-urban factors, population cohorts, among other sources; means exploring the structure of inequality, which helps in disaggregation of overall inequality in relevant factors.

Therefore, the 2016 inequality indexes of 0.391 (Gini) and 0.310 (Theil) do not tell the whole story of inequality. Because, they do not state the sources of income that earn most and income that earn least to determine causes of inequality. Sources of income do contribute to inequality in different measures. Just a casual observation of Nigerian income distribution suggests earned income in oil, communication, public and banking sectors cause the majority of inequality. However, agricultural income and women earned income cause less inequality in Nigeria.

Another way to decompose overall inequality is by population cohorts. We know in this country that the women and youth bear the brunt of economic hardship most. It will be good to know Nigerian demographic inequality so that the group with most need can be identified and prioritized.

decomposing Inequality in nigerian gender

In the same vein, gender inequality does not only exist in Nigeria but also the income inequality of Nigerian woman is disturbing. Most women with equal qualification and skill with their men counterparts are paid below what men earn. Decomposing the overall inequality in Nigeria with respect to gender equality will provide interest group with fact and figure to establish solution to the wide gender gap.

In addition, education is another factor for decomposition. Public and private universities for example, could be compared to bring to bear the differences in their graduates gaining employment, which will in turn show where the burden of inequality lies among the graduate. In real sense, knowing the overall inequality in Nigeria has little relevance in analysing the problem of inequality, it will be better if the NBS disaggregate the overall inequality data for improve policy analysis.

Decomposing enhance policy making process

In consonance with decomposition of overall inequality indexes in Nigeria by identifying the sources of inequality. This will enhance chances of policy making success, which is a necessary step for NBS to take. No policymaker can proffer a relevant solution to a problem that the cause is not well diagnosed. Likewise, private businesses need decomposition of sources of inequality for them to meet their clients’ or customers’ needs accurately and efficiently.

One of the area a decomposed inequality index can enhance policy formation is in rural population. Though there is a projection by United Nations (2014) that up to 67 per cent of Nigerians will be living in cities by 2050; however, majority of Nigeria population still live in rural areas. Instead of waiting until these rural-urban migrants become victims of urban slum and urban poverty. Programs that focus on rural farmers with little means of production could be accurately designed to lift them out of poverty and increase their disposable incomes. This can be achieved by disaggregation of rural population by their occupation and their income classes.

Additionally, issue with gender inequality in Nigeria is a disturbing one and it is evident that both government agencies and civil society organisations are not given it the needed attention. And for people who want to get involve in gender equality advocacy often lack adequate data to prove their agitations for better treatment of women. Decomposing sources of inequality through gender factors will enhance the advocacy and policy that bring about closing the gender gap in Nigeria. For instance, if the inequality index tells us about plight of women farmers who made up almost 50 per cent of Nigeria agricultural workforce; development practitioners will be in position to direct their efforts in this sector more accurately.

Furthermore, there are studies in some parts of the world that have linked unemployment of university graduates to where they earned their degrees. In Nigeria, we need to know the ratio of employability of graduates who study abroad to graduates who study at home. In the same manner, we need to know the ratio of employability among graduates from federal, state and private universities; these ratios will enable us to know if degree awarding institutions are contributing to unemployment and inequality. Hence, response to correct any gap in our education sector are administered.

All of these indexes expand our understanding of sources of inequality, which make tackling issue of poverty and inequality possible by all partners in development process.


Inequality indexes as published by NBS is a necessary tool for development analyst but overall inequality index is too limited to make any significant diagnosis of development issues and to proffer good solutions to factors that constraint development in Nigeria. Though it seems there is improvement in inequality index between 2013 and 2016; however, when decomposed, it will be obvious to us if indeed there is improvement or no improvement. There will only be improvement if it is inclusive, that is if the fabric of the society that is worse-off gains the most not the middle class as shown in the above table. Therefore, NBS needs to expand its scope on inequality index so it will help in designing remotely programs to tackle challenges to our sustainable development.

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The climate chronicles – A new book by Joe Bastard

Friend of WUWT Joe Bastardi, has been referred to as an institution in the science of weather prediction. Formerly with AccuWeather, and now with WeatherBell, many companies across a multitude of industries, from energy to retail, have profited from his forecasts. His exceptional skills are rooted in a comprehensive understanding of global oscillations and in-depth analysis […]

via The Climate Chronicles – a new book by Joe Bastardi — Watts Up With That?

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Sixty-seven per cent of Nigerians are poor – President Buhari Aide


A poor community in Nigeria

Mrs Maryam Uwais, the Special Advisor to the President, Social Protection, says about 67 per cent of Nigerian population live below poverty line.

Uwais said this during a social protection Practitioners and Academics Dialogue on Thursday in Abuja.

According to her, some of the social issues that plaque Nigeria is high poverty, high unemployment rates, increased insecurity, gender inequality and poor literacy rates, among others.

She added that social protection was a response and a key strategy towards reducing poverty and socio-economic vulnerabilities in the population as well as to encourage G2p payments digitalisation and financial inclusion.

Uwais also said that the Federal Government has designed a four-point National Social Investment Programme (N-SIP), including Conditional Cash Transfer Programme (CCT). “This involves the direct transfer of N5,000 to the targeted poor and vulnerable households.


“The Home Grown School Feeding (HGSF) assist vulnerable families, feed their classes, primary 1-3 school children one nutritious meal a day and provides an incentive to send them to school which is targeted to feed 5.5 million children.

“The N-Power Programme is designed to put 500,000 young Nigerian graduates on employment and empower or train 100,000 of non-graduates with necessary tools to create, develop and build projects that will change our communities, economy and nation.

“There is also Government Enterprise Empowerment Programme (GEEP), which is targeted financial inclusion and empowerment loans programme to deliver maximum impact to the economically under- represented groups that targets about 1.6 million beneficiaries,’’ said the presidential aide.

She said that for National Social Programme to move forward the cooperation of stakeholders was key in actualising it in terms of knowledge, resources and skills for transformative undertaking.

She therefore called on stakeholders to partner with the initiative, saying that the complex issues facing Nigeria would be met with comprehensive solutions by collective efforts to invest in the strongest and most promising sector.

Mr Folunsho Okunmadewa, the Lead Specialist World Bank, noted that the dialogue was important, saying that they are very important stakeholders in the actualisation of the social protection agenda.

He said that the social protection agenda has grown big due to government concern, participation of private sector, civil sector and researchers.

“Through the academia research would be evident and we are talking of a dynamic issue that change on a daily basis.

“Those who are on the state level and in operations unit are constantly aware of changing knowledge,’’ he said.

He added that the academia research on a daily basis and with that they can help with the programme and collaborate in the state and national level.

He added that some of the existing data could be analysed and give information that could help in the project which would bring about a mutual benefit. He also said that involving the academics was a huge step in bridging the gap.

Mr David Adejo, the National Co-ordinator, Youth and Employment and Social Support Operation (YESSO), also said that the involvement of academicians in the social protection agenda would boost the programme.

He noted that academicians have the tools to collect data and also work for the existence of more evidence action.

Adejo also said that the poor people were becoming more vulnerable and it needed the interventions which are ongoing.

The CDD Coordinator, Mr Abdul Kareem, said the academia has a lot of research and community services which could be achieved especially in data collection.

“We have so many primary health centres at the community level and with the help of the academics we can achieve some of the agendas because they can help us spread the news.
“Food protection agenda is a very positive development, if academia gives us support and accessibility, our micro projects will increase.

“We can’t go to a community and build a borehole when their need is not borehole and with the help of the academia we will be able to know the problem of each community through data processing,” he said.

Dr Temitope Sinkaye, the National Programme Coordinator, said the social protection intervention has been taken to 21 states and about 300 households had been covered.
She noted that the target was 1 million households and therefore called on the state governors to set up offices to enable them discharge their duties effectively.

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President Buhari Press Release over Benue State Deadly Attacks is Late

Image result for benue attack

President Muhammadu Buhari has commiserated with Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State over the reported killings, injury of several persons and wanton destruction of property in Guma and Logo Local Government Areas of the state in the New Year.

While expressing immense sadness at the “wicked and callous” attacks on even innocent children, the President assured the governor and people of the state that relevant security agencies have been directed to do everything possible to arrest those behind the regrettable incidents and avert further attacks.

“This is one attack too many, and everything must be done to provide security for the people in our rural communities,” he said.

President Buhari also commiserated with families of the victims and wished the injured speedy healing.


Senior Special Assistant to the President

(Media & Publicity)

The above words are content of a press release this afternoon by Garba Shehu; the Senior Special Assistant to President Buhari on media and publicity.

Reading the press release what first come to mind is how long will it take before president will response to brutal massacre within Nigeria? Killings have been on going in Guma and Logo Local Government Areas (LGAs) of the State for days without any action from the Federal Government (FG). And we all know that the FG controls the police and military, so there is limit to what state government can do.
Maybe the Presidency was waiting for Nigerians and political opponents to attack their silence before responding. I’m of the opinion that this administration is too reactive to Nigerians comments instead of being proactive to their needs and demand.

Probably, if Governor Fayose of Ekiti State did not allege the president, we will not see any press release from the presidency regarding the killing in Benue State. But until the governor twitted “I am deeply sad about the killings going on in Benue State. When will these killings by Fulani herdsmen stop? When is President Buhari going to act? Isn’t the silence of the President suggestive” before the presidency responded by a press release.

The fundamental cause of incessant herdsmen/farmer crises in this country can be linked to impacts of climate change but no one is seeing it in that direction, however, government need to be unbiased to all Nigerians by protecting all region of the country with all its might.

God bless Nigeria.


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