The International Potato Center (CIP) announces the launch of its free online mobile accessible Pest Risk Atlas for Africa that assesses potential pest risks under current and potential future climate conditions for a number of important pests that effect African agricultural and horticultural crops like potato, sweetpotato, vegetables, and maize.
"African communities are highly dependent on agriculture, which is vulnerable to unpredictable changes in climatic conditions," said Dr. Jürgen Kroschel, CIP's Agroecology and Integrated Pest Management science leader. "Any increase in temperature caused by climate change will have drastic effects on pest invasions and outbreaks affecting pest management, crop production and food security."
Climate change will exacerbate existing vulnerabilities of resource-constrained farmers who depend on agriculture for a living. CIP launched the Pest Risk Atlas for Africa to benefit researchers and extension workers involved in pest risk analysis and pest management. Ultimately, this information will create better awareness of current and future pest risks under climate change and promote the inclusion of pest risk adaptation plans at country level. Consequently, it may lead to the adaptation of sustainable pest control methods that are not overly dependent on pesticides and therefore are best suited for farmers in Africa to improve their food security and daily lives under future climates.
In its global pest management research efforts, CIP's Agroecology and Integrated Pest Management program developed a scientific framework based on advanced pest phenology modeling and Geographic Information System risk mapping to better understand future pest risks on global, regional, and local scales and to use this information for adaptation planning.
The Pest Risk Atlas for Africa provides detailed information for pest risk analysis including:
- Detection and identification, morphology, and biology with an emphasis on temperature-dependent development
- Means of movement and dispersal, economic impact, geographical distribution, and phytosanitary risks
- Risk mapping under current and future climates: global risk and regional risks for Africa with individual country risk maps
- Phytosanitary measures and adaptation to risk avoidance at farm level.
On average, 30-50% of the yield losses in agricultural crops are caused by pests, despite the application of pesticides to control them. Climate, especially temperature, has a strong and direct influence on the development and growth of insect pest populations. A rise in temperature due to climate change may both increase or decrease pest development rates. Hence, an increase in temperature can potentially affect range expansion and outbreaks of many insect pests. Therefore, if adequate integrated pest management (IPM) strategies are not developed and made available to farmers, greater losses in crop yield and quality could ultimately result.
Natural enemies play an important role in managing pests and are often used in classical biocontrol programs to manage invasive non-indigenous pests. It is important to better understand how climate change will affect this trophic level and how crop management can build and rely on biocontrol strategies. The Pest Atlas for Africa includes important data and mapping information to better use this powerful pest management option.
The Pest Risk Atlas for Africa is now available online at http://cipotato.org/riskatlasforafrica/and will be periodically updated and enriched with new pest chapters. All individual pest and biocontrol agent chapters can be downloaded for free. It also contains interactivity that allows users to zoom into maps, and do quick searches for specific information.
The International Potato Center, known by its Spanish acronym CIP, was founded in 1971 as a root and tuber research-for-development institution delivering sustainable solutions to the pressing world problems of hunger, poverty, and the degradation of natural resources. CIP is truly a global center, with headquarters in Lima, Peru and offices in 20 developing countries across Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Working closely with our partners, CIP seeks to achieve food security, increased well-being, and gender equity for poor people in the developing world. CIP furthers its mission through rigorous research, innovation in science and technology, and capacity strengthening regarding root and tuber farming and food systems.
CIP is part of the CGIAR Systems Organization, a global partnership that unites organizations engaged in research for a food secure future. CGIAR research is dedicated to reducing rural poverty, increasing food security, improving human health and nutrition, and ensuring more sustainable management of natural resources. Donors include individual countries, major foundations, and international entities.