Fall armyworm invasion in Africa: implications for maize production and breeding.
Food security and livelihoods in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) are threatened by the recent arrival of the fall armyworm (FAW) (Spodoptera frugiperda J.E. Smith) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae), a prolific, polyphagous insect pest of 350 host-plant species, including maize (Zea mays L.). In the major maize-producing countries in SSA, annual yield losses attributable to FAW are between US$ 2.5 and 6.2 billion. Presently, the FAW is an A1 quarantine pest and there is stringent cross-border control of agricultural commodities. This review presents the current impacts of FAW on sustainable maize production in SSA and the key pest management options emphasizing breeding for resistance based on best practices globally. The review analyzes suggested control strategies for FAW, based on the efforts implemented in SSA so far, and lessons learned from global regions where the FAW is already a major pest. Emphasis is placed on breeding through integrating conventional and molecular tools to improve resistance in maize and to expedite gene identification and introgression in maize for cultivar design, development, and deployment. Information presented in this paper should guide the sustainable management of FAW in SSA.