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Invasive alien species threatens Africa agriculture

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Female variegated grasshopper lor stink locust (Zonocerus variegatus) is one of the invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide.Credit: Christiaan Kooyman

Africa may lose about US$3.66 trillion annually from the impact of the Invasive Alien Species (IAS) on agriculture and other vital food production programmes, a new study has found.

The findings, published in CABI Agriculture and Bioscience, show that yield losses, reduction in livestock and loss of income from labour management costs, make up the losses caused by IAS, comprising pathogens, other organisms as well as plants and animals not native to an ecosystem.

Rene Eschen,, who led researchers, from Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, the United Kingdom and Switzerland, in the study says “the study provides policy-makers evidence to guide and prioritise the management and costs of eliminating IAS.”

Early detection remains a high priority for prompt response to address the loss to farmers across the continent. This would entail instituting large-scale control of widely established IAS at little cost to farmers and other affected land users, to reduce losses and improve livelihoods.

Solomon Duah, one of the researchers from Ghana, emphasises the need to develop targeted solutions for management of IAS. “The solutions must be environmentally friendly and adapted to the local circumstance,” thereby preventing entry and spread of new IAS across Africa.

Jean-Paul Adams, expert on climate change and natural resources advocate for sustainable management approaches to protect biodiversity by investing in carbon neutral measures to secure land for agriculture.

doi: https://doi.org/10.1038/d44148-021-00040-1

References

  1. 1.

    Eschen et al. CABI Agric Biosci (2021) 2:18

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