The items handed over to MAFS includes 19 laptops, 2 routers, 15 bikes, 1 Toyota Land Cruiser, mask gloves, 19 laptop bags.
Fall Armyworm (FAW), is an insect pest that feeds on more than 80 crop species, causing damage to economically important cultivated cereals such as maize, rice, sorghum, and also to legumes as well as vegetable crops and cotton. It is native to tropical and subtropical regions of the Americas, with the adult moth able to move over 100 km per night. It lays its eggs on plants, from which larvae hatch and begin feeding. High infestations can lead to signiﬁcant yield loss.
The Impress Administrator of BAFS, Jemillatu Stober said the support was one of the many presentations to the MAF to facilitate activities geared towards the combating of the Fall Armyworm (FAW) invasion in Sierra Leone.
She further that the devastation caused by the FAW in many countries around the world including those in sub-Saharan Africa, noting that the EU in Sierra Leone saw it fit to classify it as an emergency situation and allocated a substantial amount through the BAFS project to combat the scourge.
Madam Stober said maize is the major crop affected by the FAW, adding that it can attack over 80 species of plants, including staple food, rice.
She said an assessment done by the crops division and BAFS staff, pointing they were able to see first-hand the damage done in Sierra Leone, and sadly, most of the farmers and traders could not even recognize the damage.
“As we are fully aware of the ministry’s determination to increase rice productivity, thus food security, the crops division and BAFS have put in a special interest and planning into the eradication of the FAW. As a result, we have put together a 5-year strategic plan for combat the FAW, which is part of this presentation”. She said
She said the BAFS project is currently supporting the building of a lasting relationship between the MAF SL and the Min of Agriculture in Brazil, South America where the FAW originated.
The Impress Administrator disclosed that a team of 6 officials from MAF, SLARI and Njala University will be embarking on a trip to Brazil for 2 weeks to gain more knowledge and skills to fight the FAW.
She further that the visit will enable effective research on the appropriated Integrated Pest Management approach and parasitoidal breeding that will be appropriate for Sierra Leone, adding that the visit will not only concentrate on issues related to FAW, but also seek support for other crops such as cocoa, coffee, cashew and vegetables.
Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, Joseph Ndanema commended the EU through it project for boosting agriculture production in the country, adding that the equipment handed over to the Ministry is basic tools that would aid institutional capacities of MAFS.
He stressed that participation of stakeholders and information sharing is very key in the fight against FAW in the country.
The Minister said the EU is one of the donor partners in the fight against poverty in the country, adding that the overall objectives of the BAFS Programme is the reductions of poverty and food security in Sierra Leone through better governance and improved household living conditions.