Where to find CABI’s open-access information on fall armyworm

The Invasives Blog


The fall armyworm, Spodoptera frugiperda, is making headlines worldwide for all the wrong reasons. The caterpillar crop pest, native to the Americas, was reported in Africa for the first time last year and is now rapidly marching across the continent. It is a voracious pest of maize and other staple crops and has already destroyed tens of thousands of hectares of farmland. As such, it risks devastating smallholder livelihoods throughout Africa. Given that CABI scientists predict it could reach Europe and Asia in a matter of years, it looks set to quickly become a global problem.

The case for action against fall armyworm is overwhelming. On the ground, CABI will support national extension services to help farmers identify the pest quickly and accurately, contribute to awareness-raising and conduct studies to work out the best ways to control it that are not overly dependent on insecticides. Alongside these efforts, CABI…

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Climate change in Agriculture: embark upon the cause and effect for food security and solution to revert the warming world through Adaptation-Mitigation options

Agriculture as a cause of Climate change

According to intergovernmental panel on climate change, Agriculture is one of the world’s largest industries; agricultural land alone covers 40-50% of the world’s land surface. The sector accounts for roughly 14% of global greenhouse gas per year that makes agriculture is a major contributor to climate change (IPCC 2007).

According to the Stern Review, in 2000, about 35% of greenhouse gas emissions came from non-energy emissions: 14% were nitrous oxide and methane from agriculture. Total global greenhouse gas contribution of agriculture from both direct and indirect sources reached up to 32%; the most prominent sources includes: land conversion to agriculture, nitrous oxide released from soils, methane from cattle and enteric fermentation (flatulence-produced methane emissions), biomass burning, rice production, manure, fertilizer production, irrigation, farm machinery and pesticide production. About 74% of total agricultural related greenhouse gas emissions originate in developing countries.

Livestock sector expansion also contributed to overgrazing, land degradation, and an important driver of deforestation in addition to its methane and nitrous oxide emissions from ruminant digestion and manure management, and is the largest global source of methane emissions. Greenhouse gas emissions footprint of livestock sector varies considerably among production systems, regions, and commodities, mainly due to variations in the quality of feed, the feed conversion efficiencies of different animal species and impacts on deforestation and land degradation. Besides the livestock production, the waterlogged and warm soils of rice paddies make rice production system a large emitter of methane from agriculture.

Effect of climate change in agriculture

The cumulative impact of climate will have economic consequences and potentially large implications for the wellbeing and sustainable development of rural populations.  Fundamental to this are a wide range of cross-sectorial impacts affecting health, water and energy resources, ecosystems, and land use. The impacts of climate change to agriculture over the next 50 to 100 years may include:

  • Changing spatial and inter-temporal variability in stream flows, onset of rain days, and dry spells (Strzepek and McCluskey, 2006 ),
  • More frequent floods and droughts, with greater erosion rates from more intense rainfall events and flooding (Agoumi, 2003),
  • Increased crop water requirements from higher temperatures, reduced precipitation and increased evaporation, with likely more negative impacts on dryland than irrigated agricultural systems (Dinar et al., 2009),
  • Positive and negative production and net yield changes for key crops including maize, wheat, and rice, among others, over different time periods, resulting in changes in crop and management choices (e.g. irrigation, crop type) (Kurukulasuriya and Mendelsohn, 2006 ),
  • Potentially lengthened growing seasons and production benefits to irrigated and dryland systems under mild climate scenarios (Thornton et al., 2006 ),
  • Increased heat and water stress on livestock, with possible shifts from agriculture towards livestock management (i.e. stock increases) under increased temperatures with a different mix of more heat resistant species than today and possible benefits to small farms (Seo and Mendelsohn, 2006 ; Dinar et al., 2009).
  • Higher temperatures in arid and semi-arid regions will likely depress crop yields and shorten the growing season due to longer periods of excessive heat.

Climate change will not equally affect all countries and regions, even if Africa represents only 3.6% of emissions, the (IPPC, 2007) report highlighted that Africa will be one of the continents that will be hard hit by the impact of climate change due to an increased temperature and water scarcity. The report pointed out that there is “very high confidence” that agricultural production and food security in many African countries will be severely affect by climate change and climate variability.

Climate change will likely have the biggest impact in equatorial regions such as sub-Saharan Africa. This means that countries already struggling with food security are likely to find they struggle still harder in the future. World Bank (2009) study that focuses on developing countries estimates that without offsetting innovations, climate change will ultimately cause a decrease in annual GDP of 4% in Africa. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warns that an increase in average global temperatures of just two to four degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels could reduce crop yields by 15-35 percent in Africa and western Asia, and by 25-35 percent in the Middle East. While an increase of two degrees alone could potentially cause the extinction of millions of domestic and wild species that have a biodiversity and food security potentials.

Adaptation of Agriculture from climate change

The vulnerability of a system depends on its exposure and sensitivity to climate changes, and on its ability to manage these changes (IPCC, 2001). Three intuitive approaches appear to have informed the prioritization of adaptation programs of actions and strategies to climate change, namely: a) social vulnerability approach (addressing underlying social vulnerability); b) resilience approach (managing for enhanced ecosystem resilience); and c) targeted adaptation approach (targeting adaptation actions to specific climate change risks).

Climate change adaptation enhanced by altering exposure, reducing sensitivity of the system to climate change impacts and increasing the adaptive capacity of the system while simultaneously explicitly recognizing sector specific consequences. With this respect, adaptation in the agricultural sector seen in terms of both short-term and long-term actions. The provision of crop and livestock insurance, social safety nets, new irrigation schemes and local management strategies, as well as research and development of stress resistant crop varieties form the core of short-term responses. Long-term responses include re-designing irrigation systems, developing land management systems and raising finances to sustain adoption of those systems.

Safety nets are likely to become increasingly important in the context of climate change as increased incidence of widely covariate risks will require the coverage and financing that these sources may provide. Some of the options for adapting agriculture to climate change have related cost for Agricultural research, Irrigation efficiency, Irrigation expansion and development of Roads.

Improving the use of climate science data for agricultural planning can reduce the uncertainties generated by climate change, improve early warning systems for drought, flood, pest and disease incidence and thus increase the capacity of farmers and agricultural planners to allocate resources effectively and reduce risks. Better use of assessing risks and vulnerability and then developing the safety nets and insurance products as an effective response is already being piloted in some areas with fairly positive results (Barrett et al. 2007).

Mitigation of Agriculture for climate change

Climate change mitigation refers to an anthropogenic intervention to reduce the sources or enhance the sinks of greenhouse gases (FAO, 2011d). In other words, mitigation means taking action to reduce the causes of climate change by limiting the amount of heat trapping gases that emitted into the Earth’s atmosphere. Agriculture could increasing carbon sinks, as well as reducing emissions per unit of agricultural product. The agricultural sector: high mitigation potential with strong adaptation and sustainable development co-benefits.

Mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions in agriculture sector includes reduction of emissions, avoided the emissions and creating sinks that can remove emissions. Lower rates of agricultural expansion in natural habitats, agro-forestry, treating of degraded lands, reduction or using more efficient use of nitrogenous inputs, better management of manure, and use of feed that increases livestock digestive efficiency are some of the major mitigation options in agriculture.

soil carbon sequestration have nearly 90% of agriculture’s climate change mitigation potential could be realized, if carbon markets could introduce to “ provide strong incentives for public and private carbon funds in developed countries to buy agriculture-related emission reductions from developing countries. Soil carbon sequestration by improved land use and management can increase and maintain greater soil Carbon stocks (i.e., sequester C) include a variety of practices that either increase the amount of C added to soils (as plant residues and manure) and/or reduce the relative rate of CO2 released through soil respiration. Soil carbon sequestration practices include: 1) improved grazing land management, 2) improved crop rotations, 3) improved fallows, 4) residue management, 5) reduced tillage, 6) organic matter amendments, 7) restoration of degraded lands, 8) rewetting of cultivated organic soils and (9 Agroforestry. More over using improved nutrient management could increase the plant uptake efficiency of applied nitrogen, reduce N2O emissions, while contributing to soil C sequestration. Agroforestry systems tend to sequester much greater quantities of carbon than agricultural systems without trees. Planting trees in agricultural lands is relatively efficient and cost effective compared to other mitigation strategies, and provides a range of co-benefits important for improved farm family livelihoods and climate change adaptation.

Livestock improvements brought about by more research on ruminant animals, storage and capture technologies for manure and conversion of emissions into biogas are additional contributions that agriculture can make towards mitigating climate change. The anaerobic digestion of manure stored as a liquid or slurry can lower methane emissions and produce useful energy, while the composting solid manures can lower emissions and produce useful organic amendments for soils. To reach the full potential of agriculture in climate change mitigation, transformations are needed in both commercial and subsistence agricultural systems, but with significant differences in priorities and capacity.

In commercial systems, increasing efficiency and reducing emissions, as well as other negative environmental impacts, benefits by increasing carbon sinks, as well as reducing emissions per unit of agricultural product. The sustainable intensification of production, especially in developing countries, can ensure food security and contribute to mitigating climate change by reducing deforestation and the encroachment of agriculture into natural ecosystems. Mitigation of climate change through agriculture is an environmental service that smallholders can provide and is often synergistic with improvements to agricultural productivity and stability.

Climate smart agriculture as a way forward

Climate-smart agriculture is a practice that sustainably increases productivity, resilience (adaptation), reduces/removes GHGs (mitigation), and enhances achievement of national food security and development goals. Efficiency, resilience, adaptive capacity and mitigation potential of the production systems can be enhanced through improving its various components. The future of agricultural production relies on both designing new ways to adapt to the likely consequences of climate change, as well as changing agricultural practices to mitigate the cli-mate damage that current practices cause, all without undermining food security, rural development and livelihoods.

Major transformation of the agriculture sector will be necessary and this will require institutional and policy support. Better-aligned policy approaches across agricultural, environmental and financial boundaries and innovative institutional arrangements to promote their implementation is crucial. Enabling policy environment to promote climate-smart smallholder agricultural transformations is greater coherence, coordination and integration between climate change, agricultural development and food security policy processes.

In farm decision-making and practices, the adaptation and mitigation measures are often the same agricultural practices that also benefit farmers by increasing productivity and resilience. However, there may be important trade-offs too. In these situations, where climate-smart practices entail costs for the farmers and these changes are deemed to bring substantial benefits to the society, the farmers facing extra costs should be compensated through different payment mechanisms, rewarding these farmers for the environmental service they provide. With this prospect climate change creates new financing requirements both in terms of amounts and financial flows associated with needed investments, which will require innovative institutional solutions. In synthesizing potential synergies between adaptation and mitigation in smallholder agricultural transitions.




11-12 October, 2015

Hilton Hotel, Addis Ababa



The Role of Agricultural Extension in Sustainable Agricultural Development


An indispensible precondition to agricultural development is the existence of extension professionals with the requisite knowledge and skills to drive the agricultural modernization process. Agricultural extension and advisory services are under pressure to make a positive difference in the lives of smallholder farm families and the resource base they depend on. This pressure is creating demands for continuing professional growth of extension personnel to develop the capacities to meet ever-growing demands for extension and advisory services.

The 2nd Annual Professional Conference of the Ethiopian Society of Rural Development and Agricultural Extension (ESRDAE) will be held on 11-12 October, 2015 at Hilton Hotel in Addis Ababa. The conference, whose main theme is ‘The Role of Agricultural Extension in Sustainable Agricultural Development’ is intended to create a joint forum for extension professionals to share their experiences and best practices in moving Agricultural Extension System forward.

All individuals and organizations involved in agricultural extension and support services are invited.

Conference sub-themes


  1. National Agricultural Extension Policies and strategies.

There will be a special session for discussing the Ethiopia Extension Strategy. Well researched papers on extension policies and strategies will be welcome.

  1. Conservation Agriculture,


Approaches and methods promoted to prevent soil, biodiversity, and forest resources from losses and contributed to improve livelihoods and development.


  1. Empowerment of Farmers


Extension approaches and services that help farmers to make sound decisions in light of sustainable development. All kinds of creative organizational forms of farmers and extension workers, policy measures and associated programs, networks, advocacy practices in light of sustainable development falls in to this category


  1. Training and education


Training approaches, knowledge sharing mechanisms, curriculums that reelects a balanced view on increasing productivities and carrying for the environment


  1. Local Innovation


All approaches, methods and experiences on identifying, developing and sharing local innovations in agriculture and natural resource management, which is in agreement with boosting production and contributing to combat climate change effects

  1. Approaches and methods for enabling innovation

Approaches and methods which include organizational and institutional setups created to facilitate innovation development by different organizations and initiatives. This also includes innovation platforms, research- extension-farmer linkage mechanisms.

Objective for the conference

  • To share experiences on best fit extension practices and success stories relating to the theme and sub-themes.

Expected Outputs

  • Best fit extension practices and success stories shared.

Call for papers

Papers are invited on research and other experiences in extension. While conceptual papers will be considered, preference will be given to papers based on practical experiences related to the conference theme.

The deadline for submitting full papers is 15 August, 2015. Please send your papers to:

Chimdo Anchala, e-mail: chimdo.anchala@gmail.com


Elias Zerfu, e-mail: Ezerfu@yahoo.com

Registration for the ESRDE Conference

All participants will be required to pay a registration fee of Birr 150.00 on arrival. This fee will cover all expenses related to the conference.

For planning purposes, we would be grateful if you could complete the registration form below and send it to Chimdo and Elias by 15 August, 2015.

Registration for the AFAAS Extension Week

Please see details in AFAAS Announcement www.afaas-africa.org


As the Society does not have funds to sponsor participants. We appeal to employers (MoA, regional bureaus of agriculture, development partners, universities and colleges) to encourage their staff to participate and to cover the costs (transport and accommodation) of their participation. The conference will greatly enhance the professional growth of your staff.



The following is a suggested structure for full papers:

  • Title
  • Authors name(s), institutional affiliation(s)
  • E-mail address for the corresponding author only
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Materials and Methods/methodology
  • Results and Discussions
  • Summary
  • Acknowledgements
  • References

General. The main section headings should be bolded, capitalized and left justified. The section headings (or subheadings) should also be bolded, left justified but with only the first letter capitalized. Further subdivision(s) of the text is generally not recommended. However, if a third level subdivision is used, this should be bolded, first letter capitalized, and on the same line of the paragraph.

Papers should be written on A4 paper, single spaced, leaving a margin of 2.54 cm (1’’) on all four sides of the paper, and limited to a maximum of 8 pages. Use Times New Roman, Font # 12 throughout the document.

Title. The title should be brief, concise, informative and accurately describe the contents of the paper. The title should not exceed 15 words. There is no need for a separate title page

Author(s) Address(es) . The names of author(s) should be given without title(s) and/or academic qualifications. Authors should provide full mailing address, of the corresponding author.

Abstract. An abstract not exceeding 250 words in length should be informative, self-explanatory and not contain references. The abstract should clearly state the rationale and objective of the study, tell why and how the study was done, what the results were, why they are important, and what new facts or information has been obtained from the investigations.

References. Articles or books published or ‘in press’ may be quoted, cited or referred to in the paper. Arrange your references in alphabetical order. For journal articles, the reference(s) should have the following sequence: author(s) name(s) followed by author(s) initial(s); year; title of paper; name of journal, volume number; and page number(s). Only the first word and proper nouns should be capitalized. Chapters in books include: author(s) name(s), year, chapter, title, pages, editor(s), book title, publisher and city. Conference or symposium proceedings should include: editor(s), date and place of symposium, publisher and page numbers.

Titles of journals must be given in full, and not abbreviated. Reference to personal communication, and documents not available to general scientific public, should as much as possible be avoided. However, if these are cited in the text, they should not be included in the ‘Reference’ section. In the text, give name(s), date, and institution or organization that provided the information.

Figures and Tables. Figures should be drawn in black ink on white paper and of a size that allows for reduction in size of up to 50%. Figures produced on computer using standard graphic packages, such as Havard Graphics, Excel of Freelance, are equally acceptable. Photographs, if they need to be included, should be supplied in black on white paper. Colour photographs may be supplied but owing to high production costs, these may be produced in black and white.

Figures and tables should be self-explanatory and selected to illustrate significant points made in the text. The word table should have the ‘T’ capitalized and placed at the top left hand corner. Also the word figure should have the ‘F’ capitalized and placed at the bottom left hand corner. Captions should be short and brief, but adequately describe the contents of the figure or table. Tables and figures should be numbered in Arabic numerals. The word Table should always be spelt out in full, but the word Figure, which should be spelt out in full in the caption, may be abbreviated to Fig in the text.

Units of measurement. SI units (i.e., metric units) should be used throughout the text. In the event that non-metric units are used, or are preferred, metric equivalents should be given at least once when they are first used in the paper.

Abbreviations. Abbreviations may be used in the text in the interest of brevity and conciseness provided these are explained and spelt out in full when first mentioned or used in the text. Avoid the use of non-standardized abbreviations.

Length of papers. A maximum of 8 single spaced pages.

Only full papers meeting the above requirements will be accepted. No abstracts will be considered.


11-12 October, 2015

Hilton Hotel, Addis Ababa


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