Pest Risk Atlas Informs Efforts to Help Farmers Prepare for Climate Change

Funders: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and DevelopmentCGIAR Trust Fund contributors through the CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers and Bananas (RTB)

Region: Sub-Saharan Africa

It is estimated that between 30 and 50 percent of the yield loss on African farms is caused by crop pests, a problem that is expected to grow worse as climate change advances.  In early 2017, CIP launched an online  Pest Distribution and Risk Atlas for Africa to help governments and other actors improve crop pest management across the continent.

That open-access, mobile-accessible resource combines up-to-date information on major insect threats to potato, sweetpotato, vegetable and maize production with current risk maps for each pest and predictions for future climate scenarios. Researchers, agricultural ministry officials and extensionists can use that information to plan efforts to help farmers better manage crop pests now and prepare for future threats.

“Any increase in temperature caused by climate change will have drastic effects on pest invasions and outbreaks that will affect pest management, crop production and food security,” warned Dr. Jürgen Kroschel, CIP Agroecology and Integrated Pest Management science leader, who initiated the Pest Risk Atlas project.

Map of predicted abundance of potato tuber moth (Phthorimaea operculella) in Africa by 2050
The potato tuber moth (Phthorimaea operculella) is already a serious pest in many of Africa’s potato farming areas. Photo: J.Alcazar.

He explained that rising temperatures can result in both range expansion and more intense outbreaks of insect pests. To predict those risks on global, regional and local levels, CIP scientists used advanced pest phenology modeling and geographic information system risk mapping, among other tools. Risk assessments from a collaborative project with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture and the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology were also included. In addition to the risk maps and assessments, the Atlas includes information on pest identification, ecology and impacts, as well as phytosanitary measures and farm-level adaptions for controlling them.

Jürgen explained that while its principal focus is raising awareness and disseminating scientific information, the Atlas also promotes the use of pest risk adaptation plans on a country level, as well as on-farm sustainable pest control methods that are not overly dependent on pesticides, such as biocontrol strategies for invasive pests. The ultimate goal is to improve pest management on the ground, increase crop yields, and contribute to the food security and incomes of Africa’s smallholder farmers.

Consult the Atlas

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