Port Autonome de Cotonou – Port Environmental Laboratory for invasive species

The Port Autonome de Cotonou (PAC), in partnership with the Ecole Polytechnique d’Abomey-Calavi (EPAC), the Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD) and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) installed a Port Environmental Laboratory. The laboratory, inaugurated in December 2021, is used to monitor and assist in the management of invasive species that could be unintentionally imported/exported through port activities (mooring of ships, loading/unloading of goods, transport from the port to hinterland countries).

For example, invasive species are responsible for the global spread of diseases (e.g. Zika, dengue, cholera) and have already caused considerable damage to some food and industrial crops in Africa (e.g. fall armyworm and wiped out maize production). The PAC found that rats of Asian origin have been introduced into Benin through the port of Cotonou via maritime traffic, spreading through the national territory and to hinterland countries such as Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali.

Each of these four institutions (PAC, EPAC, IRD and IITA) are committed to contribute its scientific and operational expertise on invasive species management. They have thus actively participated in the design of the laboratory, whose implementation they are now supervising. They have also committed to contribute to the activities that will be developed, as well as to training and capacity building (conceptual, technical and operational) of their staff in the context of the laboratory’s mission.