July 6, 2017
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the African Union Commission (AUC) have agreed to collaborate on an immediate as well as mid-term strategic response to manage and control the fast-spreading Fall Armyworm (FAW) outbreak in Africa.
Concretely, the two organizations have identified priority areas for joint actions on FAW, among others, sensitisation and awareness-raising, securing buy-in from policy makers and mobilisation of partnerships and resources in support of effective response.
This key partnership to address the FAW pest outbreak was forged at a meeting held at the African Union (AU) headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, between the FAO delegation from its Regional Office for Africa, led by the Regional Programme Leader for Africa, Abebe Haile-Gabriel, and the AU Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture (DREA), headed by Commissioner Sacko Josefa Leonel Correia.
“The spread of the pest in Africa is reaching an alarming proportion as it has already invaded millions of hectares of maize crop in several countries, causing significant crop damages the consequences of which may potentially put the livelihoods of millions of smallholders in jeopardy, if effective and coordinated response is not to be mounted”, explained Abebe Haile-Gabriel.
“FAO has developed a programme framework document to launch a coordinated response to FAW, based on an action plan agreed upon at a multistakeholders’ meeting held in April 2017 in Nairobi, Kenya”, he added.
The FAO delegation invited the AUC leadership to join hands with the Organization in promoting an urgent and coordinated intervention in response to the FAW outbreak in Africa.
Commissioner Sacko urged that “in view of the peculiar characteristics of the Fall Armyworm, FAO and AUC need to develop and launch effective, affordable and sustainable response mechanisms based on the programme framework document that FAO has helped formulate”.
Commissioner Sacko further underscored the African Union Commission’s readiness to collaborate with FAO on the FAW response, including in raising the significance and magnitude of the FAW challenge among the policy makers in Africa.