Southern armyworm identified from West and Central Africa

Edited by Washington Otieno, Roger Day and Matthew Cock.

Larva
Figure 1. Spodoptera eridania (southern armyworm); final instar larva. Laboratory specimen. Public Domain – Released by the USGS Bee Inventory & Monitoring Lab.

The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) has confirmed that caterpillar and adult moth samples from West and Central Africa are southern armyworm, Spodoptera eridania.

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A night at the movies: with soybean and fall armyworm as stars of the show

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A similar screening takes place with a community in Uganda

Farmers in northern Ghana are beginning to get a taste of the latest movie out of the Box Office – it’s not a romantic comedy or a thriller – instead it’s a production that will help them get more from their soybean crops and protect their maize from the fall armyworm caterpillar.

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No stranger to the Victoria Falls: The fall armyworm marches on menacingly

Fall armyworm Zambia
Fall armyworm feeding on maize kernels at Kasiya village

The town of Livingstone, in the Southern Province of Zambia is world renowned for its magnificent views of the Victoria Falls. Annually, thousands of visitors flock this town to awe at one of the seven natural wonders of the world. A few kilometres away from this picturesque view lies Kazungula, a small border town between Zambia and Botswana, on the north bank of the Zambezi River. This area is lucky to have plenty of rain, and the residual moisture that remains in the soil enables farmers to plant a second crop of maize, referred to locally as “winter maize”. What would seemingly be a blessing has, however, become a quandary for the thousands of maize growers in Kazungula. The invasion of fall armyworm, Spodoptera frugiperda into this area has conspired against the farmers to ensure they do not exploit this natural resource to its fullest benefit. First reported by Zambia to the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) in early 2017, fall armyworm is present in all ten of Zambia’s provinces and continues to rampage the country unabatedly.

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Using roundworms to manage the Tomato Leaf Miner

Tuta absoluta  (tomato leafminer) larval damage on tomato (Lycop
The tomato leaf miner, Tuta absoluta

Research recently published in the Journal of Economic Entomology has offered new insight into managing the tomato leaf miner (Tuta absoluta) using entomopathogenic nematodes (EPN). If the pest is not adequately managed, it can cause up to 100% crop loss in both field and green-house grown tomatoes. Also causing further concern is the increasing insecticide resistance the pest has shown to be developing.

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Invasive species — the hidden threat to sustainable development

Devastating damage to maize crops caused by fall armyworm in Ghana. Photo: CABI

When tackling health, hunger or education, how many projects consider the threat of invasive species? The Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International believes not incorporating biosecurity and invasive species management into development work could jeopardize the success of the Sustainable Development Goals. In this guest column, Roger Day highlights how invasive species can have major economic, social, and environmental impact and explains the importance of cross-sector collaboration.

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New report reveals cost of Fall Armyworm to farmers in Africa, provides recommendations for control

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CABI has published an ‘evidence note’ report on the invasive Fall Armyworm pest, showing how the caterpillar could cause maize losses costing 12 African countries up to US$6.1 billion per annum, unless control methods are urgently put in place.

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