The PRA exercise and preparations to pilot CBSD surveillance program in Nigeria has been initiated. National and regional regulatory organizations, including Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Services (NAQS) and Inter-African Phytosanitary Council (AU-IAPSC) were engaged. The NAQS Postentry Quarantine Headquarters in Ibadan, Nigeria, was identified as the base to establish central monitoring station for digital surveillance program.
A consultation workshop with the key stakeholders was organized to evaluate the probability of introduction and spread of a CBSD and develop a road map for effective surveillance in Nigeria. Participants from NAQS, AU-IAPSC, the AU-Science Technology Research Commission (AU-STRC), National Root Crops Research Institute (NRCRI), National Center for Genetic Resources and Biotechnology (NACGRAB), representatives from cassava processing industry, seed growers, universities and the BMGF – WAVE project attended.
In this workshop, group evaluated and identify sources of risk for CBSD entry and spread in Nigeria and potential economic impact. Geographical maps (Figs 1 and 2) presenting the state-wise cassava production data and trend of cassava production during the past 10 years in Nigeria were used to assess the crop importance, cassava value chains, major export/import activities and trade. Risk of introduction and risk of impact on cassava production/livelihoods was assessed on a 1 to 5 scale, where 1 = least likely and 5 = very high risk/severe impact, to develop a risk map (Table 1). All the states with official border posts and traditional transportation routes (unofficial borders) were identified as high risk for introduction, whereas states with high cassava production were identified as zones that will have serious impact in case of introduction and spread. Nigerian states, Taraba, Rivers, Akwa Ibon, Ogun, Kwara, Cross Rivers, Benue and Oyo were recognized as the states requiring high level of surveillance. Illegal importation of planting material by researchers or traders is considered as the most likely entry route for CBSD. Other possible entry routes for disease are through countries neighbouring to Nigeria (Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Benin, Chad and Niger).
Table 1. Risk map of CBSD introduction and impact
Fig 1. Statewise cassava production map (left) and 10 year annual production by state. Cassava production in most states is stable and experiencing marginal increase/decrease in production growth. In Taraba, cassava production doubled since 2005.
Reviewed strengths and weakness of existing procedures and systems for prevention. Continental surveillance strategies developed by AU-STRC and AU-IAPSC. At country level, surveillance procedure for monitoring plant pests is weak and implemented on need basis to track emerging pests (e.g fruit fly invasion in Nigeria). Major responsibility of monitoring for exotic pests lies with NAQS, who in-turn depend on the several in-country organizations for information and expertise to coordinate this task. Inter-institutional linkages were found to be poor.
Qualified personnel, capacity to undertake diagnosis, capacity to disseminate information, linkage with international organization were recognized as strengths of the system. Poor funding, poor reporting/feedback system, inconsistent power supply, minimal collaboration between the institutions, inadequate surveillance infrastructure, and lack of farmers/stakeholders trust was identified as major weakness. Lack of skilled manpower and infrastructure for identification and diagnosis of viruses, access to consumables, information management, and managing collaborations among stakeholders were the major gaps.
To improve this situation, standard guidelines and mechanisms for information exchange and cooperation between the regulators (NAQS and NASC), research institutions (IITA, NRCRI, NACGRAB, universities, etc), extension services (Agricultural Development Programs (ADPs); RTEP; NGO), growers and processors (farmers, private sector) and traders (Agro-dealers) will be developed by the end of September. Steps have been taken to form a steering committee with members from NAQS, NRCRI, IITA, NASC and AU-STRC to improve coordination between the organizations for effective surveillance.
Requirements were drafted and in the process of procuring them. This includes a server, workstation, solar generator, wireless router and digital data capture devices (android phones, tabs and other). Further work will focus on training field officers in three Local Government Areas in 3 states in monitoring, information gathering and relaying information to the coordinating centre. Also developing a web-based app to integrated features for real time collection of data from the fields, expert feedback.
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