Training of Trainers (ToT) for crop experts of the Ministry of Agriculture ended
on Friday in the West Coast Region.
training that brought staff of the department of agriculture from all the
agricultural regions of the country, was designed for the identification of the
Fall Armyworm and surveillance techniques to determine the spread of the pest
in The Gambia.
trainees were also introduced to integrated pest management options in the
combat against the Fall Armyworm.
would be recalled that a month ago a sensitisation workshop on the threat of
Fall Armyworm was organised by the Ministry of Agriculture with support from
Fall Armyworm is an insect, more precisely, a caterpillar that destroys maize
crops. It consumes the plant leaves, bores holes into the stem and destroys the
Fall Armyworm was first detected in Central and Western Africa in early 2016
(Sao Tome and Principle, Nigeria, Benin and Togo) and in late 2016 and early
2017, it has spread to many countries in Africa including South Africa, Kenya,
Niger, Ghana, and Sierra Leone, and it is expected to spread further.
In June 2016, specimen of an insect pest which
looks like the Fall Armyworm and was causing damage to maize plants in the West
Coast Region was collected by the National Agriculture Research Institute
(NARI) and sent to the international institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA)
in Ibadan, Nigeria for molecular analysis to determine if in fact Fall Armyworm
has been sighted in The Gambia.
Fall Armyworm(spodoptera frugiperda) is a voracious insect pest that feeds on
more than 80 crop species causing damage to economically important cultivated
cereals such as maize, rice, sorghum, and also legumes and vegetables.
It originated from the Tropical and
sub-tropical regions of Americas.
In Brazil, where the pest is endemic, it has
been estimated to cost US$600 million a year to control the pest.
is unknown how exactly this pest got to Africa, but it has become a major
threat to the continent’s food and nutrition security, and agriculture trade.
United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) took the leadership in
helping member countries, farmer organizations, and individual farmers to
sustainably manage the pest.
has taken immediate actions to support The Gambia in responding to the threat
of the Fall Armyworm by supporting the Ministry of Agriculture to conduct a
sensitisation and awareness raising workshop on the Fall Armyworm.
Minteh, Regional Director for URR elaborated on the importance of the training
and assured that the information gained from the training would be put into
practice on the field.
are our partners and therefore the practice of dialogue will be necessary when
communicating with the farmers,” he added.
his part, Mustapha Ceesay, FAO Agronomist, said the present situation is a very
critical situation in The Gambia, adding that it was the responsibility of FAO
to sensitize the people, especially the farmers.
Ceesay, a representative of NARI, said the issue of the Fall Armyworm is a
threat to food security in The Gambia and to the world at large.
further elaborated on the importance of farming and urged the participants to
take every bit of knowledge they gain from the training seriously and share it
with the communities they represent.