African Association of Insect Scientists Holds its 24thScientific Conference

African Association of Insects (AAIS) together with Addis Ababa University (AAU) has organized a five-day scientific conference at the College of Natural and Computational Sciences from the 21st – 25th of March 2022.

The theme of the conference declares “Migratory Pests and Invasive Species: Early Warning System, Monitoring, Control and their Impact on Food Security, Environment and Livelihoods during COVID-19 pandemic”.

Zebdewos Salato, Pest Management Specialist and Delegate of State Minister, said in his opening remark that following the widespread occurrence of migratory and invasive alien pests, a series of awareness creation workshops have been made to prevent serious economic damage on field and horticultural crops.

According to Zebdiwos, since migratory and invasive alien pests are persistent threats to the production to different crops in the country, planned endeavours are sought to devise sustainable management through the generation of information, knowledge and control technologies with available capacities and networking.

“Even if it is difficult to take into account all the efforts made across the continent, to address the pest problem, it is very well recognized that a lot has been done both in the research and in development aspects since most invasive alien pest species reported,” Zebdiwos added.

“Despite these efforts, we still have serious concerns and fears of continued threats from new invasion of pests because due to several reasons. This requires us valiant attempts to stop incoming pests as well as to be able to effectively manage through global and regional coordination,” he urged.

Jean Gerard MEZUI-M’ELLA, Director at Inter-African Phytosanitary Council of the African Union (AU-IAPSC), said that the African continent has been ravaged by pest incursions like the Fall armyworm and, most recently, the Desert Locust.

According to Jean Gerard, these have led to huge crop losses across the region, coupled with the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, with member states undergoing massive shocks. He said, “This growing trend needs to be reversed, given the centrality of agriculture to Africa’s economy.”

Saliou Niassy (PhD), Entomologist and AAIS President, on his part said, “A world with a prosperous Africa is possible. Our continent is grappling with most of these essential functions. We are still food insecure; we cannot defend ourselves against the oppressors. We are struggling with health, education, economy, and transportation facility needs.”

Saliou stressed that Insect science is the key to Africa’sprosperity because it unifies the people and makes their cultural and genetic diversity an asset rather than a limitation.

He urged that Africans should invest more in insect science and train the next generations to build a critical mass of leaders who bring change in Africa and beyond.

Tadesse Fetahi (PhD), Research Director at the College of Natural and Computational Sciences, in his turn said that it is possible to control the adverse impact of insects on crop production and increase productivity through the consumption of edible insects.

Reporter: Theodros Shewangizaw

Photo: Fikremariam Beyene

Editor: Abraham Girmay