A lag in the advancement of biotechnology: reliable control of maize stem borers in Africa
Divisions of PAS
The future of food security in Africa is being severely threatened due to an exponential increase in population, which is almost three times the increase of food production. Maize production is constrained by stem borers which cause significant yield losses. Yield losses can be further compounded by higher temperatures due to climate changes, which are expected to increase the population of maize stem borers. While several methods have been employed in stem borer management, there is still significant damage caused by maize stem borers. This necessitates better control methods including the adoption of recent biotechnological advancement in RNA interference (RNAi) technology. This review highlights evidence of an increase in the stem borer population as well as the foreseen decline in maize production worldwide due to the effects of climatic changes. Furthermore, we have drawn attention to improved methods that have been used to control stem borers in maize production as well as a reluctant acceptance of traditional biotechnology in Africa. Finally, we suggest the application of alternative RNA interference techniques to breed maize for efficient pest control in order to achieve food security, improve nutrition and promote sustainable maize production.
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