Invasive Alien Species May Threaten Agriculture and Biodiversity

Jay Kakade
Maize Field Maize Field

A(caps)ccording to a report by NeoBiota, Invasive Alien Species (IAS) of animals and plants spreading all over world especially in Africa may be a threatening factor for Agriculture and Biodiversity.
Invasive Alien Species can be lethal to crop yield which can cause loss of livelihood. IAS plays a leading role in destruction of some species, even extinction can be a possibility.

According to a report by Nature, Africa losses $3.66 Trillion per year due to impacts of Invasive Alien Species. It is a serious blow to food production in particular areas.

International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) defines Invasive Alien Species (IAS) as the Introduction of a new species in a area, bought up by people intentionally or unintentionally which were not in existence there.

A study by different scientists states there are more than 18,000 Invasive Alien Species across the whole world.
In Ghana, there are 200 invasive plant species can affect forests, agriculture and biodiversity. This studies have claimed, many of the invasive plants pests can be harmful for forest and agriculture in Ghana.

This project was conducted more than mere study. It helped in building priorities of actions, plans and measures.

Cassava Maize Field

A research was conducted by 23 experts in respective matters. They studied 110 Arthropods Species and 64 Pathogenic Species.
Out the 64 pathogenic species, Moniliophthora perniciosa and Moniliophthora roreri are the two species not reported elsewhere in Africa. Remaining 62 were native African species. And out of Arthropod, the pink hibiscus mealybug (Maconellicoccus hirsutus Green) and melon thrips (Thrips palmi Karny) were marked as invasive. Team prioritized two pathogens which includes cassava brown streak virus and Maize lethal necrosis disease.

Maize is one of the most important crop in Ghana. It alone contributes to 50% of agricultural production. But the necrosis disease can be a obstruction to Maize. It can cause 50 - 90% loss in maize production.

While Cassava is another important staple food in Ghana contributing 22% of agricultural production. But Cassava Brown Streak Virus can interrupt production by 70%.

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