Climate Change Effects Bring About New Pests & Diseases

The climate change crisis seems to incessantly keep causing more harm than good in various elements from nature to calamities as well as the farming sector that severely suffers from the emergence of new pests & diseases.

The UN Food Agriculture Organization estimates that annually up to 40 percent of global crop production is lost to pests. Each year, plant diseases cost the global economy over $220 billion and invasive insects at least $70 billion.

According to the Agrochemicals Association of Kenya (AAK), the concern needs to be dealt with urgently as the new diseases and invasive pests are complicating farming, and forestry cover hence threatening food security and the environment.

Some of the diseases emerging as listed by AAK manager Benson Ngigi are; anthracnose in beans and avocado, bean spot, maize lethal necrosis, and tomato nematode whereas the pests range from; leaf miners, fruit flies, red spider mites, and larger glam borer, among others, that are ravaging the crops of farmers.

Ngigi revealed that most emerging plant diseases are spread by global travel and trade, which have tripled in volume over the last decade, while the weather is the second most important factor.

Explaining that the weather shift has overseen the spread of plant pests ravaging economically important crops were spreading to their non-traditional areas due to increased rainfall and rising temperatures.

Benson Ngugi also noted that half of all emerging plant diseases are spread by global travel and trade, which have tripled in volume over the last decade. The elimination of these pests & diseases in new territories is often a burden for some as it is time-consuming and expensive.

Thereby urging farmers to devise various methods like mixed approaches in the management of these pests & diseases effectively. Others mean of mitigating farm losses can include the culture method, and biological and pesticide control.

“There is a need for more research into the impact of climate change on pests & diseases as well as on plant health, and for more investments in strengthening national phytosanitary systems and structures,” AAK manager Benson Ngigi said. 

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