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Nationwide Tour on FAW sensitization 24th _29th January, 2018

BACKGROUND:

Following the infestation of the Fall Armyworm in the Gambia last year, the food and agriculture organisation in its quest to promote food security took it upon themselves to come up with an emergency fund TCP in complementing the efforts of government through the ministry of Agriculture to control the spread of the fall armyworm.

 

This started with setting up a task force committee comprising of NARI and the plant protection services. A three day training of extension staff followed suit at the paradise suits hotel funded by the Fao and coordinated by the plant protection services of the Department of Agriculture.

 

 

A six day countrywide tour is recently organised with funding from the Fao in collaboration with NARI, Plant Protection Services and the Department of Agriculture. It commenced on the 24th of January in the North Bank Region. The team targets lumo days in communities which attracts farmers within that region which would enhance the quick dissemination of the information to other areas.

 

 

 

 

The purpose of the sensitization is to raise awareness to farmers across the country on the FAW, it’s mode of prevention as well as distribute posters and leaflets which have clear descriptions of the insect, its biology and control measures.

 

 

 

 

 

 

(i) Sensitization were undertaken on lumo days in communities which attracts audiences from farmers and natives from other villages.

 

(ii) Posters of the worm were displayed and presentations carried out by the NARI expert and plant protection services.

 

(iii) Radio panels conducted in all community radios across the country to further sensitize those that were not on the ground.

 

(iv) Distributing leaflets to audience that have clear indication of the worm, it’s biology mode of control etc.

 

 

All six agricultural regions were visited and three villages were visited in each of these regions led by district extension supervisors who mobilise farmers to partake in the meetings  

 

  • North Bank Region                              Fass Njaga Choi lumo

 

 

  • Central River Region - South             Brikama Ba Market “Lumoo”

Jareng village Bantaba

 

  • Upper River Region                           Basse: Sabi village Bantaba

                                                                  Diabugu, Demba kunda

 

  • Central River Region - North                Kaur Lumoo, Njau village
  • Bantaba and sami                                   Karantaba dutokoto
  • Lower River Region                              Dongoroba, Jalangbereh  kwinella

 

 

  • West Coast Region                                Ndemban,Kembujeh,Sanyang                        

 

           

 OVERVIEW OF THE VISITS

All the target villages were visited with the team led by district extension supervisors

Who mobilise farmers in their clusters. The team was welcomed by village heads which is followed by presentations by the experts from NARI and Plant protection services.

 

The Alkaloes of the various villages welcome the team of experts while enjoin the villagers to keenly listen to make best use of the message to be delivered.

 

 

 

 

Dr. Mustapha Ceesay, Program Officer FAO briefed the gatherings on the purpose of the tour which is to sensitize and create awareness to farmers on the Fall Armyworm. He said it’s an insect pest newly discovered in the sub region and almost have infested the whole of Africa.  He noted that FAO has been mandated to safeguard food security in Africa. Thus, the need to control the spread of the FAW.

He further stated that damages caused by the FAW in the Gambia is not severe but there is need to halt its spread to other areas to avoid unprecedented destruction by the insect in the future.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mr. Sariyang Jobarteh, Director General DOA said that the Gambia government through the ministry of Agriculture and development partners would come up with efforts in mitigating the destruction of the FAW. This he said is a threat to food security and calls on all and sundry to join the fight in controlling the worm.

 

 

 

 

Dr. Faye Manneh of NARI and Alagie Gaye, Plant Protection Services served as the resource persons for the sensitization They presented in detail  from the origin of the pest which they said is a native of the Caribbean. He added that it came to Africa in 2016 and affected countries in eastern Africa Kenya, Malawi, South Africa, Nigeria, and Ghana. Confirmed cases were reported in the Gambia last year in kembujeh, Radville farm and the Bakau women’s garden. This he said was followed by a countrywide surveillance tour to confirm the level of the insect infestation in the Gambia.

Reports from the surveillance showed that most maize fields are highly infested by the worm.

 

 

Dr. Manneh further highlighted the reproduction mode of the insect which he said is rapid as the adult can lay up to 2000 eggs thereby multiplying the species.

The Adult flies 100km to distances with its destruction on maize severe. Thus he calls for efforts to adapt control measures for upcoming seasons.

 

The pest feeds on 80 food crops but prefers maize. He further advised farmers to report cases of the pest infestation on their farms to extension staff in their regions.

 

He went on to give control measures on the pest which includes:

  • Early planting during the rainy season
  • Continuous surveillance and getting rid of eggs on leafs
  • Continuous weeding of fields to destroy pest hideouts.
  • The use of the neem seeds or leaves as pesticide.
  • Crop rotation is also a control measure for the pest especially the cultivation of fertilizer

 

 

He however, discouraged the use of harmful chemicals as a control measure. This he said has adverse effects on human health and our crops either in the short or long term.

 

 

Farmers were given the opportunity to raise issues of concern or ask questions regarding the pest. They all welcomed the sensitization and commended the Fao, DoA for a timely intervention. Most if not all the villages said they noticed signs of the worms in their fields. However due to ignorance they do not know it’s a threat to their crops as well as their yield.

Many echoed the same sentiments noting that they solely depend on agriculture as their main source of livelihood.  Thus, any message that would enhance their development is worth listening to. They assured the authorities of their continuous commitment in adopting the control measures on integrated pest management which is the recommended practice to get rid of pests.

 

 

 

 

OBSERVATIONS:

  1. Generally it has been observed that the pest has infested many fields in the country but awareness of its destruction was low among farmers.

 

 

 

RECOMMENDATIONS:

Ignorance has been the major factor resulting to the quick spread of the pest, therefore there is need for more sensitization in other areas that were not visited during the first sensitization.

 

The use of communication channels, local or community radios weekly through trained extension workers would enhance continues information on the pest at the local level.

 

Training of farmers on integrated pest management in place of using harmful chemicals by farmers.

 

Organise farmer trainings on the FAW targeting participant from all regions around the country.

 

Continuous surveillance by the extension staff in the regions to update the PPS and NARI on cases of infestation.

 

 

 IMPORTANT CONCERNS RAISED BY FARMERS FOR CONSIDERATION BY AUTHORITIES

 

  • Fatou Sonko from Fass Njaga choi calls for early arrival of authorities in delivering such a message. Adding that, the low turnout was as a result of the late start of the meeting
  • Basirou choi appealed for the provision of farming implements like tractors for early planting as recommended by the experts in control of the FAW.
  • Need to provide fertilizers on time and affordable by all.
  • A farmer suggested the training of farmers on the use of the neem due to inadequate extension agents in their areas.

CONCLUSION

Amidst the unprecedented destruction of the FAW, its spread could be control if continuous training and sensitization is carried out by the FAO and the DOA. This should involve extension officers and farmers at the community levels with the use of radios, and other means of communication.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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