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Fall Armyworm: Impacts and Implications for Africa

Published: September, 2017


Arne Witt, Birgitta Oppong-Mensah, Corin Pratt, Jose Gómez, Julien Lamontagne-Godwin, Matthew Cock, Melanie Bateman, Natalia Corniani, Noah Phiri, Pablo Gonzalez-Moreno, Phil Abrahams, Regan Early, Roger Day, Sean T Murphy, Silvia Silvestri, Tim Beale, Victor Clottey, Yelitza Colmenarez

This publication is a digest of an Evidence Note commissioned by the UK Department for International Development (Fall Armyworm: Impacts and Implications for Africa) and published by CABI in September 2017. The full report is available here.

Key messages

  • Fall Armyworm (FAW) in Africa has the potential to cause maize yield losses in a range from 8.3 to 20.6m tonnes per annum, in the absence of any control methods, in just 12 of Africa’s maize-producing countries. This represents a range of 21%-53% of the annual production of maize averaged over a three year period in these countries. The value of these losses is estimated at between US$2,481m and US$6,187m.
  • FAW should be expected to spread throughout suitable habitats in mainland sub-Saharan Africa within the next few cropping seasons. Northern Africa and Madagascar are also at risk. At the time of this document’s publication, 28 countries in Africa have confirmed the pest on their territory (compared to 12 in April 2017). A further nine countries have conducted or are presently conducting surveys, and either strongly suspect its presence or are awaiting official confirmation. Two countries have stated that FAW is absent. No information on FAW presence or absence could be gathered from the remaining 15 countries.
  • Control of FAW requires an integrated pest management (IPM) approach. Immediate recommendations include (i) awareness raising campaigns on FAW symptoms, early detection and control, including beneficial agronomic practices; (ii) national preparation and communication of a list of recommended, regulated pesticides and biopesticides and their appropriate application methods. Work should also start immediately to (i) assess preferred crop varieties for resistance or tolerance to FAW; (ii) introduce classical biological control agents from the Americas. A conducive policy environment should promote lower risk control options through short term subsidies and rapid assessment and registration of biopesticides and biological control products.

Fall Armyworm: Impacts and Implications for Africa

Type Briefing

Published in CABI Evidence Notes

Language English

Year 2017