Scientists root for natural ways to fight armyworm
International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) has unveiled new technologies to combat fall armyworms.
They include the push and pull technology and the use of natural predators that feed on the fall armyworms eggs and attack the larvae.
“The predators include wasps, which prevent the pest from multiplying,” said Dr Segenet Kelemu, the director general of Icipe.
She noted that the push and pull technology has already been adopted by farmers in at least 10 African countries.
“We have also developed biopesticides based on a natural fungus that attacks the different stages of the fall armyworm,” Dr Kelemu concluded.
In 2016, the fall armyworm was first discovered in Nigeria, thousands of miles away from its native Americas, and has made its way into 28 African countries including Malawi, Zambia, Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya.
The pest was first spotted in the maize producing belts of Trans Nzoia last year, but later spread to other regions such as Nyeri where the caterpillar ravaged maize, grass, onions, cabbages and tomatoes.
Study reveals problems in chicken meat production
Large-scale meat chicken farmers are losing almost 20 per cent of their potential earnings due to poor animal welfare practices, a study shows.
The report, Economics of high welfare broiler systems in Kenya by World Animal Protection shows that the losses come as a result of rejection, mortality and downgrade.
It revealed in 2017, approximately seven million broiler chickens were delivered to processing plants in the country, and of this number, about 1.18 per cent were rejected.
Most of the birds had ascites — bloated belly — the major causes of carcass condemnation. Other causes of rejection were emaciations and cadavers (delivered as dead). It further noted most chickens are housed in poorly constructed houses.
“The houses predisposes the birds to respiratory diseases, bruises and injury of the breast and thigh muscles while brooding in such poorly ventilated houses using charcoal burners leading to further losses from water belly disease,” said Dr Victor Yamo, a manager at World Animal Protection.
Human-animal diseases rise
Scientists have raised alarm over rise in spread of diseases among human and animals. They noted that many times tuberculosis in human is treated without recognising that the disease is originating from livestock, said Dr Bassirou Bonfoh, the Director of African Science Partnership for Intervention Research Excellence.
Dr Bonfoh spoke in Nairobi while launching ‘One Health’ concept, which recognises that the health of people is connected to that of animals and the environment, and must therefore be tackled wholesomely.
“One Health is therefore defined as a collaborative, multi-sectoral, and trans-disciplinary approach with the goal of achieving optimal health outcomes recognising the interconnection between people, animals, plants, and their shared environment,” he said.