Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Socioeconomic and health impacts of fall armyworm in Ethiopia.

Abstract

Since 2016, fall armyworm (FAW) has threatened sub-Saharan 'Africa's fragile food systems and economic performance. Yet, there is limited evidence on this transboundary pest's economic and food security impacts in the region. Additionally, the health and environmental consequences of the insecticides being used to control FAW have not been studied. This paper presents evidence on the impacts of FAW on maize production, food security, and human and environmental health. We use a combination of an agroecology-based community survey and nationally representative data from an agricultural household survey to achieve our objectives. The results indicate that the pest causes an average annual loss of 36% in maize production, reducing 0.67 million tonnes of maize (0.225 million tonnes per year) between 2017 and 2019. The total economic loss is US$ 200 million, or 0.08% of the gross domestic product. The lost production could have met the per capita maize consumption of 4 million people. We also find that insecticides to control FAW have more significant toxic effects on the environment than on humans. This paper highlights governments and development partners need to invest in sustainable FAW control strategies to reduce maize production loss, improve food security, and protect human and environmental health.