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KEFRI Launch Pest Quarantine for the East Africa region

On 11th December 2020, KEFRI unveiled a quarantine facility to counter the spread of invasive pest species across the East African region. Hon. Mohamed Elmi CAS Ministry of Environment and Forestry officially opened the Quarantine facility at KEFRI Headquarters, Muguga. The facility which is the only one in East and Central Africa will enable a faster way of mitigating the spread of unwanted organisms into the external environment including forests and farmlands,” said the CAS Hon. Elmi.

“The facility will play a major role in the implementation of classical biological control programs, that will ensure introduction of vegetative materials, foreign injurious pests, diseases and noxious weeds are never introduced in the country,” further said the CAS.
“Exotic pests when accidentally or deliberately introduced into a foreign country leave behind their natural enemies and hence pose serious economic loss to the host.” said KEFRI Director Dr. Joshua Cheboiwo.
“Taming such pests requires a classical biological control programme which involves the search of natural enemies from the pests' country of origin and introducing them into the foreign country where the pest is causing economic damage,” further said Dr. Cheboiwo.

Environment and Forestry CAS Hon. Mohamed Elmi (centre), KEFRI Director Joshua Cheboiwo (right) and PS Dr. Chris Kiptoo during the unveiling of pest quarantine at KEFRI Muguga Centre

“The quarantine will impose strict isolation procedures to control pest damage and diseases Invasive or alien species are those introduced outside their native range and can harm biodiversity, ecosystem services, or human wellbeing,” said Dr. Eston Mutitu, the Regional Director Central Highlands Eco Region Research Program (CHERP).

Dr. Mutitu further said the country has had stringent plant introduction and certification procedures since 1930 when the practice began in East Africa. But now with proper pest management in forestry the sector high quality forest products like quality timber and other non-wood products required by diverse industries is anticipated.

KEFRI and the Kenya Agriculture and Livestock Research Organisation have signed an agreement on the use of the facility in the study of fall armyworm, a devastating pest of cereals, especially maize and millet.

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