Ecowas Regional plant protection experts determined to combat fruit flies

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Plant protection experts from the West African regional bloc, Ecowas recently participated in a regional forum in Banjul where they were trained on surveillance data analysis and how to develop a regional roadmap for the control and monitoring of fruit flies in the region.

The forum was organised by Gambia’s department of plant protection unit and Ecowas Commission under the central project unit.

Dr. Kemo Badjie from Ecowas plant protection unit said the regional grouping will set up monitoring and early warning systems to coordinate fruit flies in the region.

According to him, Ecowas will build the capacities of regional members from both the public and private sectors to train them on new technologies at both international and national levels, saying Ecowas Commission and its member states are involved in joint force to control fruit flies infestation and to support fruit and vegetable producers to earn better income.

Director General of the department of agriculture Sariyang Jobarteh said combating fruit flies is in line with Gambia’s national development plan which matched with agriculture ministry’s plans in trying to help farmers to combat pests.

Mr. Jobarteh said pest management requires technical and scientific skills and effective integrated pest management programme. “Mango is a widely grown fruit in The Gambia and West Africa. We are aware of the challenges that Mango growers are facing and its producers and stakeholders need to work together to combat the problems.”

He said farmers are incurring lot of loses from their produce due to high infestation of fruit flies, saying the flies are rampant during Mango seasons and combating them requires collective efforts.

“We are aware that the management of fruit flies requires integrated approach which should include surveillance data and information sharing. The participants are carefully identified and will become ambassadors in combating fruit flies from their various countries. Mango is an important fruit and contributes to national food security,” he said.

Landing Sonko, director of plant protection unit urged the participants to come up with good recommendations to tackle the fruit flies in the West Africa region.

Author: Abdoulie Nyockeh