Africa’s agriculture sector losing 3.6 trn USD due to impact of invasive species
NAIROBI, May 21 (Xinhua) — The agriculture sector in Africa is losing about 3.6 trillion U.S. dollars annually due to damages caused by invasive alien species, says a study launched in Nairobi on Thursday.
According to the study conducted by researchers affiliated with the Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International (CABI), the loss to agriculture linked to invasive species is equivalent to about 1.5 times the GDP of all African countries combined.
“An estimated 3.6 trillion dollars a year impact of Invasive Alien Species on Africa’s agricultural sector is a tremendous loss where over 80 percent of people living in rural areas rely on the crops they grow for food and income,” said Dennis Rangi, director-general, Development at CABI.
He said that governments should respond forcefully to invasive species that have compromised Africa’s ability to feed its growing population.
The new study says the average annual cost of invasive species per African country was about 76.32 billion dollars while fall armyworm (FAW) caused losses to crops amounting to 9.4 billion dollars in the continent.
According to the study, Tuta absoluta, one of the leading tomato pests caused the highest annual yield losses estimated at 11.45 billion dollars.
It says that yield losses of key staples like maize, tomato, cassava, mango, and banana stood at about 82.2 billion dollars while loss of income derived from livestock stood at 173 million dollars.
Rene Eschen, lead author of the study, said the study highlights the need for measures that prevent new species from arriving and established species from spreading, and that reduce management costs for widely present and impactful species through methods such as biocontrol.
Josefa Sacko, commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy and Sustainable Environment at the African Union Commission (AUC) said the study reinforced the urgency to combat invasive species that have derailed the transformation of food systems in the continent.
“Managing invasive alien species is an absolute imperative if Africa’s agriculture is to meet its full potential and feed its growing population – which is expected to double to 2.5 billion people by 2050 – and contribute towards global food security,” said Sacko.