Corteva Agriscience leads fight against fall armyworm with insect control solutions for African maize farmers
05-09-2019 16:00:00 | by: Bob Koigi | hits: 7593 | Tags:

Corteva Agriscience has been introducing insect control solutions to Africa’s maize farmers to in maize in Botswana, Kenya, Namibia, Tanzania, South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

This means that commercial and smallholder farmers can access Radiant 120 SC, Uphold 360 SC and Delegate 250 WG crop protection technologies, enabling them to protect staple maize crops from FAW and other biting and chewing insects.

The Uphold 360 SC technology acts quickly and has long-lasting effect on all Lepidoptera pest stages (eggs and larvae). It is a combination of two award winning active ingredients; spinetoram and methoxyfenozide, which is key for the control of key Lepidoptera pests.

The worm that found its way onto the African continent in 2016 is responsible for reducing the region’s maize yield by up to 50% annually. Halting the infestation of this innocuous looking insect, which is currently devastating crops across Africa, India and China, has become the top priority for this global threat.

“Africa has average grain yields that are less than two tons per hectare, about one-third of what is achieved in other developing regions and only one-fifth of yields in developed countries,” said Prabdeep Bajwa, President, Africa Middle East, Corteva Agriscience. “The use of these crop protection technologies and adoption of high yielding-based germplasm will enable farmers to realize greater yield potential.”

In addition to new hybrids in maize and sunflower seeds, several biotech traits are being developed in trials that will add value in the control of FAW.

The company invested more than R100 million in the Africa technology centre of which the main hub is in Delmas, South Africa. The centre currently employs African scientists and skilled technicians to support local research efforts across the continent.  Corteva will continue to invest in some of the most recognized and premium brands in agriculture, such as Pioneer®, and PANNAR® seed brands, as well as award-winning crop protection products which include Acanto® Plus fungicide, Closer™ 240 SC, Radiant™ 120 SC and Uphold™ 360 SC, insecticides for maize and vegetables and SureStart® SE herbicide for maize.

“Several new crop protection solutions focusing on driver crops in Africa such as rice, vegetables, cereals and maize have also been registered and this is a significant milestone for farmers in the continent. It is also aligned with our commitment to introduce game-changing products globally,” said Prabdeep Bajwa.

Corteva Agriscience is also collaborating in Africa to implement programs to manage and control Fall Armyworm. One of these programs is the spray service providers (SSPs) product stewardship program which offers selected farmers specialized training that entails knapsack calibration, product mixing and order, protection clothing use, best spraying practices, stewardship and scouting. The SSPs model will address the responsible use and management of crop protection products.

Bajwa concludes, “Corteva’s goal is to enrich the lives of those who produce and those who consume. This requires a significant commitment to research and development, which is why we have invested R100 million in the Africa Technology Centre in Delmas, the host of this year’s Information Session. Our centre currently employs African scientists and skilled technicians to support local research efforts across the continent.

At Corteva, we believe that by effectively leveraging our product innovation and research and development capabilities, we can play our part in helping transform the African continent’s food system and limit the spread of the fall armyworm. A safe and sustainable industry can only be achieved through focus, dedication and collaboration.

These crop protection solutions have a favourable safety profile ensuring sustainable food to consumers. They are compatible with Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programs and contain active ingredients that have been recognized as Reduced Risk Pesticides and were awarded the US Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award.

The headquarters for Africa Middle East is in Pretoria, South Africa, with current established businesses in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Egypt, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Zambia, Ivory Coast, Morocco, Mali, Ghana, and Senegal. Sites in Casablanca, Morocco, Nairobi, Kenya and Cairo, Egypt serve as head office and business centres for North West Central Africa, East Africa, and Egypt Middle East respectively.

With access to much-needed tools to help the fight against the fall armyworm threat, farmers in Africa can use these solutions to combat the threat.