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Fall Armyworm threatens food security and livelihoods across Africa










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    Book (stand-alone)
    Technical guidance on fall armyworm
    Coordinated surveillance and an early warning system for the sustainable management of transboundary pests, with special reference to fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda [J.E. Smith]) in South and Southeast Asia
    2022
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    Worldwide, maize is the third most important cereal after rice and wheat. It occupies 197 million hectares of planted area. Asia contributes to nearly 30 percent of global maize supplies, and area and production of the crop is rapidly increasing in the continent. Minimum support prices, swelling market demand from the animal feed and processing industries, as well as human consumption, have all led to increased maize production in zones where precipitation limits rice cultivation. However, maize production is currently threatened by the arrival in Asia (in 2018) of the fall armyworm (FAW), Spodoptera frugiperda (J. E. Smith) – a native to North America. It invaded India in 2018 and since then it has marched to most of the Asian countries. In 2019, its presence was confirmed in 13 Asian countries including Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, the Philippines, the Republic of Korea, Sri Lanka, and Viet Nam. In 2020, it was confirmed in Australia, Timor-Leste and Papua New Guinea. In August 2021, it reached the Solomon Islands, posing a serious threat to other Pacific islands. FAW is a fast-dispersing, migratory, transboundary insect pest. While high FAW incidences have been reported on several crops in Asia, the most important economic damage caused is to maize (followed by sorghum). The FAW invasion threatens the food security of millions of family farms in Asia, with smallholder farmers being especially vulnerable. The negative economic impact of FAW is not only evident in yield loss: the pest also leads to a significant increase in insecticide applications, with associated health, environmental and cost issues. At the same time, resilience to FAW on the continent is currently weakened by the limited access to necessary tools, technologies and sustainable integrated pest management (IPM) practices for FAW. Thus, there is an urgent need to implement an effective approach to FAW management in Asia.
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    Brochure, flyer, fact-sheet
    Guidance note: Addressing the impact of COVID-19 on the Global Action for Fall Armyworm Control 2020
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    Fall armyworm (FAW) is a polyphagous, transboundary pest that has spread across more than 100 countries in less than four years, beyond its native territory in the tropical and subtropical Americas (see Figure 1). Once FAW finds favourable conditions for reproduction, it establishes itself with no possibility of eradication. It feeds and reproduces on suitable host crops such as maize, sorghum, millet and many other plants. FAW devastates crops and considerably reduces crop yields if it is not well controlled; thus, it represents a significant threat to food security and the livelihoods of millions of farmers. In response, in December 2019, FAO launched a bold, transformative and coordinated Global Action for Fall Armyworm Control, which aims to reduce yield losses caused by the pest by strengthening national capacities for sustainable management of FAW. Concurrently, a global pandemic has emerged in the shape of COVID-19, which is caused by a transboundary and highly contagious virus that undermines human health by attacking the respiratory system and, in the worse cases, provoking pneumonia. This guidance note highlights the impact that COVID-19 will have on the Global Action for Fall Armyworm Control, and thus the sustainable management of fall armyworm with an aim to achieve SDG2, Zero Hunger.
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    Project
    Support to the Government of Rwanda in Sustainable Control and Management of Fall Armyworm - TCP/RWA/3608 2020
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    With the Fall Armyworm (FAW) pest affecting over 80 crop species in Rwanda in 2017 alone, many farmers saw their yields decrease and incomes depleted. Despite pest management and containment efforts, FAW in Rwanda has remained active since then, given its resistance and adaptability to the country’s climate and ecology. FAW was reported in all of Rwanda’s 30 districts by April 2017, affecting an estimated 38 percent of all maize crops (equal to 17 521 hectares), an essential cash and food crop among the national population at large. This was mainly due to limited capacities of the national research and extension service systems in ensuring early detection and timely response. As a transboundary insect with rapid spreading potential due its natural biological nature – and easily transmitted through trade and commerce – the FAW was found to pose a threat to livestock as well due to FAW-infested feed. In response to the need for integrated pest management (IPM) and early warning systems, the Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB) requested FAO’s technical support to mitigate FAW-related damage to crops and mitigate their impact on food security. Thus, in strengthening the capacities of the RAB, MINAGRI and District Directorates of Agriculture and Natural Resources, the project ensured a holistic approach to combatting the FAW by leading inter-institutional coordination consultations, capacity assessments, information management initiatives and community-based trainings for community farmers, district and sector agronomists, extension agents, Farmer Field School (FFS) Facilitators and RAB researchers. In addition, FAO’s Fall Armyworm Early Warning System (FAMEWS) mobile application and IPM guidance principles helped drive the training-of-trainers activities. As such, the project’s combination of programmatic coordination, technical assistance and equipment delivery made for a timely response ahead of the September - December 2017 agriculturalseason.

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