Amos Ndaso, a 30-year-old agriculture advisor from the village of Mkombilenga, had the opportunity to receive training in how to prevent and manage Fall Armyworm, one of the world’s most invasive pests. The crop-destroyer first appeared in Tanzania in 2016 and is a new phenomenon for many Tanzanian farmers who are still learning how to cope with it.
When Amos returned to his village, he applied what he learned in the trainng to his own farm and those of his neighbors. “I was busy at work for the whole month,” Amos said. “I received calls from nearby villages asking for assistance. I became one of the champions in my village because of the trainings I received.”
Fall Armyworm has invaded 14 regions of Tanzania, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization, causing a 3 percent decrease in maize production last year, compared to the previous five-year annual average of 5.6 million tons.
The USAID’s Feed the Future NAFAKA II: Cereals Market System Development project, implemented by ACDI/VOCA, offered training in how to combat Fall Armyworm, with support from the USAID Feed the Future’s Africa Research in Sustainable Intensification for the Next Generation (Africa RISING) program.
Amos learned how to detect and identify Fall Armyworm during field exercises. He also learned control methods, like the safe and timely use of pesticides. He described the training as a long overdue, critical step toward saving Tanzanian farmers’ maize crops.
Most of the areas where trainings took place are now free from danger.
“I am thankful that the danger is over, and we expect good harvest in our farms.”
— Amos Ndaso, an agriculture advisor trained by the Tanzania NAFAKA II project
The NAFAKA II project also gave grants to 155 village-based agriculture advisors, like Amos, so that they could buy equipment and provide local farmers with crop-protectant services.
“Through the training and the grant, I have created wealth through provision of spraying services in my village and nearby villages,” Amos said.
The NAFAKA II project and Africa RISING program trained 250 government extension workers and 40 lead farmers from Tanzania’s southern highlands in Fall Armyworm management. This included the Kilolo, Iringa Rural, Mufindi, Wanging’ombe, Mbozi, Momba, Mbarali, and Kilombero districts, where farmers reported instances of Fall Armyworm.