AIMS-Next Einstein Initiative students working in lab
AIMS-Next Einstein Initiative students working in lab

Agricultural scientists on Wednesday launched a prototype biopesticide portal to help promote use of non-chemical alternatives in controlling pests and diseases in Africa.

Ulrich Kuhlmann, the Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International (CABI)’s Executive Director for Global Operations, said the portal will facilitate the identification, sourcing and application of more environmentally-friendly, non-chemical alternatives in the fight against agricultural pests and diseases.

“The non-chemical alternatives are cost effective and sustainable biological control that will save farmers from using a lot of funds in purchasing chemicals,” he told journalists in Nairobi.

Kuhlmann said that the global insect body has developed the portal to help improve the uptake of biological control products through increasing awareness of these non-chemical alternatives and supporting the selection, sourcing and application of the most appropriate ones.

He revealed that the portal will be free to use through mobile phone app or websites.

Kuhlmann noted that the portal will be at the fingertips of extension workers and farmers, both within and outside of the plantwise program.

Kuhlmann called on governments to support the initiative to save farmers from losing their crops due to infestation by pests and diseases.

“It will also help improve people’s lives by providing information and applying scientific expertise to solve problems in agriculture and the environment,” he added.

It is expected that it will help manage the Fall Armyworm (FAW) which has been reported in 28 African countries and could cut maize yields by up to 60 percent.

CABI has launched the portal following a recent study they did under their plantwise program in assessing the contribution of extension services to the uptake of application of non-chemical alternatives in agricultural practice.

The six-month pilot phase for the project will involve working in partnership with biological control manufacturers for quality assurance and user-testing purposes.

“It is hoped that the first version of the portal will be launched towards the end of the year in two to three of the 19 countries where data on nationally-registered biological control products are already in the portal,” he added. Enditem

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