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Regional conference on the fall armyworm

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In response to the recommendation of the Food Crisis Prevention Network (RPCA), ECOWAS, UEMOA, CILSS and their partners organised the first regional conference on the fall armyworm, which was held on 10-12 September 2019 in Ouagadougou. Hosted by Burkina Faso’s President Christian Roch Kaboré with the participation of Niger’s President Mahamadou Issoufou, the conference was an important step forward in the development of a co-ordinated regional response to combat this trans-boundary crop pest. Detected for the first time in West Africa at the beginning of 2016, the fall armyworm mainly attacks maize, but it can also attack rice, sorghum, cotton and some market vegetables. The emergence and spread of the fall armyworm in many Sahelian countries constitutes a serious threat to the region’s food and nutrition security. This conference highlighted the nature and extent of the problem and showcased some interventions that various countries are using to tackle the. Participants presented research results aimed at developing trans-national crop pest management capacity in the ECOWAS-UEMOA-CILSS area and strengthening advocacy to  mobilise resources in each country. The conference gathered some 350 participants. Their recommendations are outlined in the “Ouagadougou declaration on the fall armyworm.” Those recommendations aim to reduce agricultural production losses by up to 20-37% by 2023. Niger’s President Issoufou welcomed the meeting and promised to bring its conclusions to the next UEMOA High Level Committee on Food Security. “There is no longer time for rhetoric, but rather for concrete actions to counter the scourge that threatens all our development efforts,” he declared. 
 
 
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