Updated assessment of potential biopesticide options for managing fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda) in Africa.
The fall armyworm (FAW, Spodoptera frugiperda) has recently spread to many countries in Africa, the Near East, Asia and the Pacific. In sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), more than 300 million people depend on FAW's preferred host plant, maize, as a staple crop. Hence, the spread of FAW in SSA has the potential to negatively affect livelihoods and food security. Many farmers have responded to FAW by increasing their use of synthetic pesticides, but these are not always used safely or effectively. More information on sustainable alternatives to high-risk synthetic pesticides is needed to inform decisions by farmers and policy makers. In a previous paper, the authors responded to this information need by identifying fifty biopesticides which had been registered for FAW management in one or more of 30 countries in FAWs native region and Africa. For each biopesticide identified, detailed profiles with information on their efficacy against FAW; associated human health and environmental hazards; their agronomic sustainability; and whether or not they are practical for use by smallholder farmers were developed Research for development (R4D) efforts is ongoing in Africa and Asia for development and use of biopesticides for FAW management. Hence, in this study the authors assessed the current state of knowledge and documented how information gaps have been filled (or not) since the previous paper was published. The authors found that for many biopesticides there is a growing body of information on their efficacy in the field in Africa and increased availability of commercialized products. They also note remaining information gaps, particularly the compatibility of the biopesticides with other recommended management practices, and cost-benefit analyses, important for developing and implementing sustainable IPM. An updated list of priority biopesticides for research, development and promotion is provided.