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Corteva Agriscience, an agriculture firm that provides hybrid seeds, crop protection and digital solutions to farmers, has developed insect control solutions for maize farmers in Africa to control fall armyworm infestation.

Commercial and smallholder maize farmers in Botswana, Kenya, Namibia, Tanzania, South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe can now access Radiant 120 SC, Uphold 360 SC, and Delegate 250 WG crop protection technologies.

Corteva’s President for Africa Middle East, Mr Prabdeep Bajwa, told the media at the just ended African Green Revolution Forum in Accra.

He said the crop protection technologies enabled farmers to protect their staple maize crops from fall armyworm and other biting and chewing insects.

Mr Bajwa said the Uphold 360 SC technology acts quickly and has long-lasting effect on all Lepidoptera pest stages (eggs and larvae).

He said the Uphold 360 SC was a combination of two active ingredients – spinetoram and methoxyfenozide, which are key for the control of Lepidoptera pests.

The armyworm infestation in Africa in 2016 was responsible for reducing the Region’s maize yield by up to 50 per cent annually.

“Corteva’s technologies can halt the infestation of those innocuous looking insect, which is currently devastating crops across Africa, India and China, thus becoming a threat to food security in the world,” Mr Bajwa said.

“Africa has average grain yields that are less than two tonnes per hectare, about one-third of what is achieved in other developing regions and only one-fifth of yields in developed countries.”

“The use of these crop protection technologies and adoption of high yielding-based germplasm will enable farmers to realise greater yield potential.”

In addition to new hybrids in maize and sunflower seeds, he said, several biotech traits are being developed in trials that will add value in the control of the fall armyworm.

He said the company invested more than R100 million in the Africa Technology Centre of which the main hub is in Delmas, South Africa.

The firm, he said, would continue to invest in some of the most recognised and premium brands in agriculture, such as Pioneer®, and PANNAR® seed brands, as well as award-winning crop protection products.

“Several new crop protection solutions focusing on driver crops in Africa such as rice, vegetables, cereals and maize have also been registered and this is a significant milestone for farmers on the Continent.”

It is also aligned with our commitment to introducing game-changing products globally.”

Mr Bajwa said Corteva Agriscience was collaborating with African governments to implement programmes to manage and control fall armyworm.

One of these programmes is the spray service providers (SSPs) product stewardship programme, which offers selected farmers specialised training that entails knapsack calibration, product mixing and order, protection clothing use, best spraying practices, stewardship and scouting.

The SSPs model would address the responsible use and management of crop protection products, Mr Bajwa explained.

“Corteva’s goal is to enrich the lives of those who produce and those who consume. This requires a significant commitment to research and development, which is why we have invested R100 million in the Africa Technology Centre in Delmas, the host of this year’s Information Session.”

“Our centre currently employs African scientists and skilled technicians to support local research efforts across the continent,” Mr Bajwa said.

“At Corteva, we believe that by effectively leveraging our product innovation and research and development capabilities, we can play our part in helping transform the African Continent’s food system and limit the spread of the fall armyworm.”

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