Tanzania’s agriculture ministry has signed a US$2 million collaboration deal with United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to boost surveillance of fall armyworm (FAW) across the country.

The fall armyworm outbreak has been causing considerable crop damage to the country’s stable food maize and other cereals – sorghum, millet and wheat.

FAO has already handed over fall pheromone traps to Tanzania for the surveillance of fall armyworm (FAW) infestation in the country.

The 216 traps would also be used to determine the gravity of the problem and provide information necessary for designing future interventions.

Fred Kafeero, the FAO Country Representative in Dar es Salaam said that the traps were part of the efforts by UN agency in addressing the FAW threat in parts of the country.

“Fall armyworm, which is mostly associated with the Americas, is a new threat in Southern Africa and we are very concerned with the emergence, intensity and spread of the pest,” said Kafeero.

“It is only a matter of time before most of the region is affected, and the costs and implications for food security and livelihoods could be very serious,” he added.

Tanzania applauded FAO for the timely intervention, as reports of invasion of the pests in some parts of the country emerge.

“Although it is too early to know the long-term impact of fall armyworm on agricultural production and food security in the country, it’s potential to cause serious damage and yield losses is very alarming.

These traps will help us determine the extent of the problem and provide information necessary for designing interventions,” Mathew Mtigumwe, permanent secretary for agriculture.