Sierra Leone Plant
Protection Office

Government of
Sierra Leone

ECOWAS SyRIMAO-Fruit Fly Project

The SyRIMAO Project in Sierra Leone was launched by the Minister of Agriculture Hon Abu Bakarr Karim….In his statement he mentioned that the project was timely as the Government of Sierra Leone through the Ministry of Agriculture is promoting trade facilitation, creating enabling environment for agricultural investment and increase exportation of agricultural products to international market as agriculture is key in the Government agenda.

Fruit flies are a major problem for the horticultural sector in West African countries. They destroy 50 to 80% of fruit production. In 2016, the interception of mangoes at the borders of the European Union (EU) caused a loss of around 9 million euros for exporters in the region, or more than a third of the total value of exports of that year. The pressure of fruit flies on horticultural production (yields) has a negative impact on the food, health, social security of populations and the environment (due to the use of pesticides of all kinds); and on the economic security (income, exports, competitiveness) of the mango sector in particular.

These crop enemies impact the entire horticultural sector in the countries of the region, threatening them with regression. To provide a response to the height of the scourge, the Commission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) initiated, in November 2014, the support Project to the regional plan of fruit flies control (FFCP), with the financial support of the EU and the Agence Française de Developpement (AFD). The operational phase of the FFCP really started in February 2015. The project
set up a monitoring and control system that covered 11 countries out of the 15 ECOWAS member States, namely Benin, Burkina Faso and Côte-d ‘. Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal and Togo While 8 countries joined the project in 2016, Togo only joined the FFCP in December 2017 and Guinea-Bissau and Nigeria in February 2018. The project is implemented under the leadership of the ECOWAS Regional Agency for Agriculture and Food (RAAF), based in Lomé, Togo.

This system is an instrument: (i) for monitoring the quantity of mangoes produced in production basins, (ii) assessing infestation rates, (iii) launching alerts to the various categories of stakeholders in the sector, and (iv) planning and evaluating production campaigns. It is part of a dynamic of expansion to cover all cross-border crop pests with a strong impact on the development of agricultural sectors of economic importance. Making these technologies available to producers makes it possible to prevent infestations and to act early, via a trapping system, through targeted, efficient, inexpensive, sustainable and environmentally friendly pest management approach with a reduction in the use of chemical inputs. The FFCP has also made it possible to supervise the national laboratories of the target countries by supporting research protocols, and in particular to strengthen the National Center of Specialization in Fruits and Vegetables (CNS-FL) of Bobo- Dioulasso, on the way to becoming the ” Regional Center of Specialization for horticultural production in West Africa. Due to lack of time, the techniques developed could not be fully finalized and disseminated on a large scale. Some of them, such as the use of spent grains, the use of endogenous parasitoids, the multiplication of weaver ants, the use of cashew balsam, the formulation of a natural pesticide based on chilli, etc. seem promising and would make it possible to carry out an efficient, inexpensive control with low environmental impact. In addition, new lines of research could be supervised, such as tests aimed at finding one or more repellent cover plants or host plants to be placed around orchards to protect them. In a context increasingly marked by the impacts of climate change which influence the reproduction cycles of crop pests, and in particular of fruit fly infestation, the challenges that still arise at this stage are: (i ) the consolidation and wide dissemination of research results; (ii) the extension of activities to all 15 countries of the ECOWAS
region (by expanding the regional system to Cape Verde, Liberia, Niger, and Sierra Leone); and (iii) taking charge of the operational mechanism at both regional and national levels by means of a mechanism making it possible to perpetuate this surveillance and control system in the 15 ECOWAS member states.

The project is operating in seven districts along the Mango zone in Sierra Leone: Port Loko and Kambia – North-West Region; Bombali; Koinadugu and Tonkolili – Northern Region, Western Area and Moyamba – Southern Region



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