In Africa, the fall armyworm is a pest causing significant destruction and devastation to crops. It is estimated to cause 8-20 million tonnes of maize losses each year and due to little knowledge of the pest and ways of managing it, the impacts can be catastrophic. With partners, CABI developed an emergency response strategy that empowered local communities of six target countries to effectively manage and monitor outbreaks in their respective localities, helping to prevent further spread.
Crop protection in Africa relies heavily on the use of synthetic chemical pesticides. They are perceived to be more effective than other methods but human health concerns and the resistance to them in pest populations is shifting the tide towards lower risk pest management methodologies. Biopesticides are considered a suitable alternative in fall armyworm (FAW) management as they are typically more specific than most synthetic pesticides and are a lower risk to health and the environment. However, those commercial biopesticide products that are available, from the Americas and Europe, to use against FAW in Africa are not available due to inadequate knowledge on their efficacy.
During 2017-18, the invasion of the Fall Armyworm (FAW) in Botswana posed a serious threat to food and nutrition security for vulnerable farming communities and households. Surveillance of pests, known as pest monitoring, will help mitigate the negative impacts of FAW in the country and will also promote the wider use of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) for sustainable management of the pest. This project will work towards strengthening the capacity of stakeholders in these two areas of management whilst supporting the development of a national strategy for the sustainable management of FAW in Botswana.