Golden Agri Inputs Limited (GAIL), subsidiary of Flour Mills of Nigeria Group has partnered with AgBiTech LLC, global leader and innovator of biological pest control, to be the company’s exclusive distributor of a biological tool aimed to prevent the infestation of Fall Armyworm (FAW) in Nigeria.
Dubbed Fawligen, the product belongs to the new IRAC mode of action Group 31 (host-specific occluded pathogenic viruses).
According to AgBiTech, it contains a nucleopolyhedrovirus specific to the FAW pest and has been undergoing several regulatory trials and evaluations across several African countries since early 2018.
“Fawligen has been tested and evaluated by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) for two consecutive years in Nigeria.
“Having access to a safe and effective biological control for FAW will be welcome relief to many of the Nigerian farmers affected by FAW,” said Dr. Shachi Gurumayum, Head of Africa & South Asia for AgBiTech.
This solution will offer Nigerian farmers known to have the largest maize acreage in Africa of 5 million hectares, the long-awaited assistance to the rampant infestation of the invasive pest which was first detected in the country in 2016 as its primary origin.
Commenting on the partnership, Boye Olusanya, the Group Managing Director, FMN said, “We will continue to pursue partnerships in all areas of our core competence, particularly in Agribusiness, where we hope to further strengthen our leadership position.
“I believe this partnership with AgBiTech is especially important because it offers farmers an efficient option of pest management products that prevent yield losses.”
Fawligen will now become an addition to the agri-input line-up of products under GAIL/FMN.
“This partnership in Nigeria is a very important step for AgBiTech. The uniqueness of our Fawligen leveraged by the robust GAIL/FMN market platform will bring Nigerian growers a valuable choice to effectively and sustainably manage FAW,” said Adriano Vilas-Boas CEO of AgBiTech.
The Australian company’s current commercial focus is in the US, Brazil, Paraguay, Australia, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and multiple countries in Africa like Nigeria, Zambia, and Ivory Coast with new markets under review.
African farmers have been struggling with destructive pests over the years with crop losses in the region due to infestations estimated at 49% of the expected total crop yield each year, according to the Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International.
This has led to researchers and scientists both in the private and public sectors to rack brains in a bid to come up with solutions to the menace.
Currently the Eastern African region is battling the growing swam of ravenous locusts.
To this end the likes of Selina Wamucii a Kenyan agricultural company and social enterprise has launched a free tool known as Kuzi that will help farmers and pastoralists across Africa to predict and control locust behaviour.