CABI is a nonprofit intergovernmental development and information organization, focusing primarily on agricultural and environmental issues in the developing world. The institute has led research which prioritizes 120 potential Invasive Alien Species (IAS) that could pose a threat to agriculture and biodiversity in Kenya.
From the initial assessment, the study drew up a list of 21 arthropods, 9 nematodes and 20 pathogenetic species which the scientists say should be risk assessed and monitored to help minimize their impact on key crops. The scientists ranked the IAS in order of likelihood of entry, magnitude of socio-economic impact and impact on biodiversity.
In the last decade, Kenya has been particularly affected by new introductions of invasive plant pests which damage cultivated crops. In 2011, for example, a new disease of maize, later identified as Maize Lethal Necrosis Disease, was reported in the Bomet and Naivasha districts of the country. Other destructive invasive plant pests include the tomato leaf miner (Pthorimaea absoluta), potato cyst nematodes, the fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda) and papaya mealybug (Paracoccus marginatus).