It will now be possible for research organisations to provide information on the Fall armyworm, an invasive crop pest that has affected thousands of acres of maize, cabbages, and other crops in Kenya and across the developing world.

The Fall Armyworm Research Collaboration Portal will to facilitate global research collaboration to fight the devastating pest.

The portal, which was developed by CABI- an international research organisation, in partnership with leading researchers and institutions, will encourage rapid, interactive experimentation and global teamwork to address the spread and impact the Fall armyworm.

The free-to-access platform enables the sharing of research data, insights and outputs, and includes a range of key features such as posting research updates, identifying collaborators, and posting questions to the community.

The Fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda), which feeds on more than 80 plant species, is native to tropical and subtropical regions of the Americas.

It was reported for the first time in Africa four years ago, and has caused significant damage to maize crops. It is feared that it could spread further spread, causing more economic damage.

According to FAO, once the pest invades a country, it is there to stay. Farmers need support to manage it sustainably in their cropping systems, through integrated pest management.

“The Fall armyworm research collaboration portal will serve as an effective platform for communicating on research actions,” said the director, International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT), Dr B.M. Prasanna.

The portal will also reduce the duplication of research into prevention and management and enable the rapid sharing of results. It will also highlight opportunities for collaboration, encouraging rapid, iterative experimentation and global teamwork to curb the spread and impact of the pest.

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