Although there are no reliable estimates for the economic losses incurred due to nematodes in Sub Saharan Africa (SSA), research shows that global estimates vary considerably from $80 billion to $157 billion per year.
This is as a result of the limited ability to identify the causal agents of crop problems, low agricultural productivity, exploding populations, escalating urbanization which leads to declining per capita food availability and the subsequent misdiagnosis leading to unpracticed use of pesticides.
Speaking during a webinar dubbed “Food Security and the Importance of Plant Parasitic Nematodes in Sub Saharan,” Dr. Danny Coyne, a senior scientist at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture in Kenya, advised that to curb the current situation of food insecurity in SSA, there is need to intensify the amount of food we produce per unit area. This he stated can be achieved by using healthy seedlings, managing pest and disease and consequently farmer’s reliance on pesticides.
“Within SSA, smallholder farming systems control the agricultural landscape where a limited understanding of nematode problems dominates,” he said.
“This review provides an outline of current nematode challenges facing SSA and presents the opportunities to overcome current shortcomings, including a means to increase nematology capacity,” he added.
On his part Prof. Daniel Sila, the Dean School of Food and Nutritional Sciences, while appreciating the organizers noted that collaborative research has led to positive societal impact
He further thanked Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for linking JKUAT with the rest of the world, thus creating an enabling environment for accessing valuable information on what scientists around the world are doing in the field of nutrition and food security.
Speaking during the webinar, Chief Advisor of African-ai-Japan Project, Prof. Hiroshi Koaze emphasized the need for more collaboration in order to close the gap between potential and actual productivity.
“I hope we shall have more collaborations between the two institutions to move forward.” he said.
The webinar was organized by the Department of Horticulture and Food Security at JKUAT.