I joined CABI in November 2017 as Senior Scientist, Invasive Species Management. I am also one of the Global Team Leaders for CABI’s PlantwisePlus Programme where I support national systems to detect and respond to invasive pest outbreaks. Previously, I was the work package coordinator for stakeholder engagement for CABI’s Action on Invasives programme, providing support to programme countries to strengthen their national systems to mitigate against invasive species threats.
My work focuses on the development of climate-resilient integrated pest management (IPM) options for the management of invasive species that constrain crop production in sub-Saharan Africa. I employ balanced basic and applied research to unravel the invasion biology and ecology of key invasive pests of agricultural crops and using this knowledge towards the development of lower-risk pest control options with a strong inclination towards biological solutions. My overall goal is to provide farmers with novel solutions that reduce the heavy reliance on chemical pesticides for pest control.
Prior to joining CABI, I worked for two years as a Research Scientist – Horticultural crop pests where I was directly responsible for planning and directing ecological research and development and deployment of IPM approaches and eco-friendly interventions to manage key invasive crop pests afflicting horticultural crops. I was also Interim Head for the Plant Health theme at ICIPE where I provided leadership and research strategy and maintaining a portfolio of research aligned with ICIPE’s strategy and goals. I have previously worked as Theme Manager for Sustainable Agriculture, Food Security and Nutrition at ASARECA, providing intellectual leadership and coordinating multi-country and multi-institutional collaborative agricultural research for development projects on 10 staple crops commodities across the 11 member countries.
CABI has a regional centre for Africa in Nairobi. Agriculture is essential for sub-Saharan Africa’s economic growth and yet average crop yields in Africa are among the lowest in the world. Over 80% rely on it but many face challenges in growing sufficient good quality produce.
Transboundary plant pests and diseases threaten food and nutrition security and adversely affect trade and the agricultural sector’s competitiveness. In the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Member States, the five key priority pests include Maize lethal necrosis disease (MLN), Tomato leaf miner (Tuta (Phthorimaea) absoluta), Oriental Fruit Fly (Bactrocera dorsalis), Fall armyworm (FAW Spodoptera frugiperda), and Banana Fusarium Wilt (Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. Cubense Tropical race 4 (Foc TR4)). In this project, CABI is supporting the FAO-led Support towards operationalization of the SADC Regional Agricultural Policy (STOSAR) project to strengthen national and regional capacities to prevent entry, control spread and manage these priority plant pests and diseases. The project will seek to support Member States in reviewing and developing harmonized national strategies for the key pests while providing training on Pest Risk Analysis (PRA) and implementing applicable Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) measures.
Start: 01/03/21 -End: 30/09/21
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