NAIROBI, Kenya, February 7, 2018. The Fall Armyworm (FAW) pest continues to threaten food security in East Africa. To combat the spread of fall armyworm across the African continent that could cause extensive maize yield losses estimated between $3.6 and $6.2 billion per year, international experts produced a new comprehensive pest management guide that is available for immediate use.
Several workshops for technical experts sponsored by USAID preceded the release of the guide, including one in East Africa that was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, November 13-15, 2017. The launch is a joint effort by the U.S. Government’s Feed the Future initiative, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center and the CGIAR Research Program on Maize.
The Fall Armyworm in Africa: A Guide for Integrated Pest Management, First Edition, January 2018, includes evidence-based, best practices and resource tools to help scientists, plant protection organizations, extension agencies, research institutions and governments working with farmers to tackle the voracious FAW. Contained in the guide is an explanation of the lifecycle of the pest and how to identify, monitor and decide when to use different management options. Each country can adapt the guide to their specific context. Link to: Feed the Future Fall Army Worm Webpage<https://feedthefuture.gov/lp/partnering-combat-fall-armyworm-africa> and Link to the FAW Guide<https://feedthefuture.gov/sites/default/files/resource/files/FallArmyworm_IPM_Guide_forAfrica.pdf>.
The invasive crop pest can feed on 80 different crop species including maize, a staple food consumed by over 300 million African smallholder farm families. The crop pest has since been found in over 30 African countries, posing a significant threat to food security, income and livelihoods. Since March 23, 2017, when the Government of Kenya issued an alert on the outbreak of the fall armyworm, Feed the Future has been working closely with the national and county governments towards emergency coordination and control of the FAW.
To support the control of the pest, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the U.S. Government, through USAID, have launched a two-year project aimed at building the capacities of countries to effectively monitor and manage the FAW through community-based approaches and will support Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda in pest monitoring and early warning so that actions can be taken to minimize crop loss.