Thursday, 28 June, 2018 - 11:15

Banjul, 22 June 2018: the 7th regional workshop of the ECOWAS Support Project to the Regional Plan for Fruit Flies Monitoring and Control (FFPC) was held in Banjul from 20 to 22 June 2018 in the presence of the Representatives of the National Fruit Flies Monitoring and Control Committees, Representatives of National Research Centers and the West and Central Africa Council for Agricultural Research and Development (CORAF/WECARD), Representatives of the Private Sector and those of the European Union.

In his opening remarks, Mr. Sariyang Jobarteh, Director General of the Department of Agriculture of the Gambia emphasized on the importance of such a meeting and all the efforts made by stakeholders of the sector to fight phytophagous flies, a plague with major negative economic and social impacts on the West African producing countries. Mr. Jobarteh was echoed by the representatives of ECOWAS and the European Union who recalled the importance of a coordinated, concerted and regional action as fruit flies do not know borders. Taking stock of the EU border interceptions due to rejection and destruction of mangoes infested with fruit flies each year, the project representatives indicated a decrease of the number of interception notifications this year - 22 against 62 registered during the same period last year.

At this review workshop of the workplan 2017-2018 and the planning of the actions of the National Committees and the National Agricultural Research Centers for 2018-2019, all participants recognized the benefits of integrated pest management implemented by the project. This is the result of several methods of control (natural or chemical) that aim at reducing flies pressures on fruits, especially on mangoes.

The project recommends a more intensive control in areas with high infestation through alerts and integral control in more restricted areas where mango value chain is a strong economic challenge. These measures are supported by applied research that provides alternative solutions such as entomopathogenic fungi (or insect-parasitic fungi), bio-pesticides based on cashew balm, etc.

Representatives of the ECOWAS Regional Agency for Agriculture and Food (RAAF) and members of the Project Coordination Unit also urged national committees to advocate before their competent authorities to further contribute to the control of fruit flies to ensure greater ownership of the project at the level of each country. In this perspective, Côte d’Ivoire for instance, has included in the state budget a budget line dedicated to the National Committee for the Monitoring and Control of Fruit Flies.

Besides, most of the national committees are requesting for a training that will help them to learn about the requirements of the new EU legal requirements regarding phytosanitary inspections that will enter into force starting from January 2019 – so as to better prepare for it.

With the arrival of three new members -Guinea-Bissau, Nigeria and Togo- the project now covers 11 ECOWAS mango-producing countries.

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As a reminder, the West African horticultural sector contributes to a balanced diet for millions of consumers at the local and regional level. It represents an important source of foreign exchange and employment for low-income countries. Unfortunately, it continues to be handicapped by noncompliance with international phytosanitary standards particularly due to infestation of pulps by phytophagous flies. This causes heavy loss of income for West African mango-producing countries.

In order to reduce the losses so that the fruit flies are controlled and no longer be a constraint for the mango value chain, ECOWAS and WAEMU have initiated the fruit flies control project (FFCP). With a total budget of 23.5 M€, the project aims at increasing the fruits and vegetables producers’ incomes (particularly small producers) to contribute to food security and to poverty reduction in the sub region. Specifically, the project has to: increase the volume of fruit free from infestations that are available in local markets; limit fruit and vegetable losses due to infestation by fruit flies so that they are no longer a constraint for exports; set up organizational structures for the control of pest risks; strengthen ECOWAS capacities in its steering functions of the sectorial policy.

 

For more information on the project, kindly contact:

The Project Coordination Unit

Bamako, Mali - Tel. +223 20 21 13 34

Email: plmf.coordination@sogerom.com