Workshop “Fall armyworm control: challenges and opportunities for the use of biopesticides”

9 – 11 September, Cape Town, South Africa

The ICGEB aims at strengthening the research capability of its Members through a comprehensive training programme and approach to promoting biotechnology internationally. The active participation of ICGEB Member States nationals in the ICGEB Meetings and Courses is therefore highly encouraged. For more information on the terms of participation and funding opportunities for this event please access the meeting website or contact the local organisers directly.

Organiser:
Dennis Ndolo (ICGEB Cape Town, South Africa)

Deadline for receipt of applications:
31 March 2020

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For the past few years, significant yield losses in maize have occurred in many countries in sub-Saharan Africa, due to damage by the invasive Fall Armyworm, Spodoptera frugiperda. Native to the tropical regions of the Western Hemisphere, the pest was noted for the first time in West Africa in early 2016. Since then its incidence has been recorded in all the countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, except for Lesotho. In July 2018 the pest was detected in India and by January 2019 it had spread to Bangladesh, China, Myanmar, Thailand, and Sri Lanka. Pest forecasts and modelling studies have shown significant likelihood of near global invasion of fall armyworm; hence it is essential to develop an effective management approach. Due to the significant crop damage caused by this pest, some countries resorted to the introduction or enhanced use of synthetic chemical pesticides, a development which has placed the economic viability of small-scale cropping systems at risk. There have also been concerns about the environmental and health impacts of some synthetic chemical pesticides. Additionally, the pest is reported to be highly resistant to many common pesticides on the market. There is, therefore, need to explore the use of biopesticides, which are generally considered safer to the environment and human health. Biopesticide R & D efforts for fall armyworm control have however experienced several challenges. For example, virus formulations are affected by inter alia prevailing climatic conditions; entomopathogenic fungal isolates identified thus far offer limited control; commercial entomopathogenic nematode applications have not yet been developed in Africa, and; efficacy of Bt formulations and botanicals against fall armyworm have not yet been determined. With the fall armyworm likely to remain a significant agricultural pest across many regions for the foreseeable future, it is essential to develop an effective, coordinated, but flexible approach to manage the pest. An Integrated Pest Management approach which would include the use of biopesticides provides a useful framework to achieve these goals. This course will provide information on the efforts that have been made so far in developing biopesticides while explore the challenges and opportunities for the development of, and incorporation of, these products into IPM strategies.

Topics

General opportunities for the use of biopesticides in agriculture; Global trends in the development and use of biopesticides; Biopesticides in Argentina and Latin America: research, regulation and policies; Current biopesticides in use and their mode of action; Quarantine and phytosanitary measures for prevention of pest invasions; The fall armyworm- identification, biology and distribution; Principles of IPM and their application to fall armyworm control; Management strategies for the fall armyworm – opportunities and challenges; General overview of biopesticides for fall armyworm control; Biological control agents of the fall armyworm; Development of biopesticides for fall armyworm control – Entomopathogenic fungi – Entomopathogenic nematodes; Development of biopesticides for fall armyworm control – Viruses – Bacteria – Botanicals; Lessons learnt from the fall armyworm invasion and their application to the control of other invasive pests; The tomato leaf minor, Tuta absoluta – An emerging problem; Strategies for stakeholder engagement to promote incorporation of biopesticides into IPM programmes.

Participants

Admittance is subject to selection and the payment of a registration fee of Euro 100. The course is expected to have 80 participants. Preference will be given to PhD students and post-doctoral fellows from ICGEB Member states who are involved in i) the management of the fall armyworm and other invasive agricultural pests ii) research and development of biopesticides.

Funding

A limited number of grants will be available to cover accommodation and meals for the duration of the workshop and provide a contribution towards international travel to nationals of ICGEB Member States. Additional grants will be available through the South African National Research Fund.