FAO supports fight against plant pests

21 September 2021 | Agriculture

JEANETTE DIERGAARDT

WINDHOEK

The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) has handed over plant health surveillance and spraying equipment worth N$1.5 million to the agriculture ministry to combat plant diseases and pest outbreaks.

Percy Misika, agriculture ministry executive director, said recent outbreaks of pests such as armyworm and locusts came at an unfortunate time when Namibians were recovering from a devastating drought.

Other pests that threaten food and nutrition security in Namibia are the tomato leaf miner and fruit fly.

According to the FAO representative in Namibia, Farayi Zimudzi, the FAO estimates that up to 40% of food crops are lost to plant pests and diseases on a yearly basis.

Zimudzi said taking care of plant health could save billions of dollars annually.

The donated equipment consists of pest traps and pesticides to prevent the spread of transboundary plant pests and diseases.

The money has been allocated to the training of the Plant Health Unit and the regional extension staff of the ministry.

Further support was granted by the European Union, which is funding a project called Support Towards Operationalising a SADC Regional Agriculture Policy (STOSAR).

STOSAR focuses on plant pest and disease control at regional level, and on implementing components of the Regional Food and Nutrition Security Strategy.

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