USAID, CIMMYT, and IITA, in partnership with ECOWAS, organized the West Africa FAW Regional Training and Awareness Generation Workshop 13‒15 February 2018 in the premises of IITA-Cotonou and the newly established Biorisk Management Facility (BIMAF), Benin. The training was attended by more than 85 participants from the 15 ECOWAS member states (including resource persons).

Training content

  1. FAW Scouting, Monitoring, and Surveillance
  2. Synthetic Pesticides and Pesticide Risk Management
  3. Biological Control of FAW
  4. Visit to IITA FAW-affected field (for demonstration of FAW and its symptoms, scouting protocol, pheromone traps, and safe application of pesticides)
  5. Visit to IITA Biocontrol Unit (for demonstration of rearing of natural enemies of FAW) and Insect Museum
  6. Host Plant Resistance to FAW
  7. Cultural Control and Sustainable Agroecological Management
  8. Developing an effective FAW response countrywide in West Africa

One of the attractive sessions of the training remains the microscope-aided demonstration of FAW pest stages and natural enemies, conducted by IITA’s FAW expert Dr Georg Goergen. Another exciting session was the visit to IITA’s irrigated maize production field, naturally affected by FAW, where participants learned how to scout and report, how to install pheromone traps, and safe pesticide application.

FAW represents one of the model pest species of the newly established Biorisk Management Facility (BIMAF); a multi-stakeholder platform initiated by IITA under the authority of CORAF/WECARD to sustainably address biotic stress management in a changing climate through a one-health approach. The participants had the opportunity to visit BIMAF FAW and natural enemies rearing unit where Telenomus remus and Cotesia marginiventris were demonstrated as candidate quarantine parasitoids to further serve Classical Biological Control programs. One of the true IITA assets is the Biodiversity Center, the largest reference collection of insects and mites in West and Central Africa, which undertakes diagnostics and offers free accurate identification services of arthropods and mites supported by barcoding. This Biodiversity Center where FAW was identified for the first time in Africa offers to participants a broad view of possibilities of collaboration between national plant protection organizations and international partners such as IITA to sustainably manage invasive species in a climate smart manner.