African farmers will soon get access to a biological tool to manage Fall Armyworm (FAW), an invasive pest native to the Americas and was first found in Nigeria in 2016 after which it spread rapidly across most of sub-Saharan Africa
The product is called Fawligen and belongs to the new IRAC mode of action Group 31 (host-specific occluded pathogenic viruses). It contains a nucleopolyhedrovirus specific to the Fall Armyworm pest and has been undergoing several regulatory trials and evaluations across various countries in Africa since early 2018.
Fawligen is manufactured by Australian company AgBiTech LLC and has been tested and evaluated by organisations such as CABI and KALRO in Kenya, ZARI in Zambia, IITA in Nigeria, MINADER/ IRAD in Cameroon, ISRA in Senegal, IASCO in the Ivory Coast and CSIR-CRI in Ghana, amongst others.
AgBiTech and UPL are entering into a distribution agreement for Fawligen in multiple African countries. Also included in the agreement is Heligen, another host-specific occluded pathogenic virus for control of corn earworm or cotton bollworm.
Shachi Gurumayum, head of Africa for AgBiTech, said, “This agreement is the result of a long, joint effort evaluating the products in Africa and our aligned visions to provide African farmers with effective and safe solutions for integrated pest management.”
AgBiTech Global CEO Peter Berweger said the company continues to invest aggressively in their industry leadership position. “This partnership is an important step for the biocontrol industry. It will give growers more choices to manage hard-to-control pests,” he added.
Marcel Dreyer, UPL Regional head for Africa, Middle East, Australia and New Zealand, commented, “This range by AgBiTech will add a lot of value to the UPL Bio-portfolio. UPL is focused to use more environmentally friendly solutions in the crop protection market and the availability of both Fawligen and Heligen are excellent tools to lower MRLs on crops and increase applicator safety. UPL is looking forward to bringing these solutions to the African crop markets.”