Monitoring Fruit Flies in West Africa: Ecowas develops an effective Surveillance System
Monday, 19 November, 2018 - 14:00

As part of the implementation of the Support Project to the Regional Plan for the Monitoring and Control of Fruit Flies in West Africa, a surveillance system is set up to monitor the movement of fruit flies in West Africa to better control them. This arrangement allows for the organization, at both national and regional level, of population surveillance and fruit fly infestation rate and the issuance of alerts that can trigger rapid control responses when necessary.

The system is already in place at the regional level and in all beneficiary countries of the project. Producers and exporters who make the mango sector a source of incomes and improvement of their food security are actively involved and trained in the handling of alert messages.

The regional feature of the system is operational in its weekly collection phase of infestation data over 2 cycles of 52 weeks. The alert analysis and issuance phase is operational since the end of December 2017 and thus, makes it possible to inform the operators of the sector on the threats in order to trigger an effective targeted fight. However, the system will have to run until the end of 2019 in order to complete the modeling system for reliable reproducible results and alerts. To do this, the regional system is supplemented with data from national surveillance.

In terms of approach, this is all about the systematization of a sampling of frugivorous species in mango orchards. The approach also applies to monitoring the phenological stages of the varieties in use as well as the interaction between plants and fruit flies.

The system is operational at 63% because of the new beneficiary countries of the project that are Nigeria, Togo and Guinea Bissau. Only Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, Benin, Guinea and Côte d'Ivoire will have put in place an effective operational monitoring and surveillance system by August 2019. Other countries like The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Togo and Nigeria will need more support to reach this level. Cape Verde, Liberia, Niger and Sierra Leone will join the 11 countries already benefiting from the project in case of a Phase 2.

Therefore, the surveillance system allows to help producers monitor the health of their production, to effectively fight against fruit flies, to manage their plantations as a business enterprise. It also helps the countries to know the potential for production and jobs that the sector can generate because of the availability of the raw material (mango). As a result, the system becomes a decision-making tool for defining and planning policies for the value chain.