A new project in South Sudan is combatting the fall armyworm, an insect that can cause significant damage to crops, particularly maize. With more than half of South Sudan’s current population—nearly 6.2 million people—in need of life-saving food assistance, safeguarding food security where possible is essential. Launched in January 2019 as a partnership between CABI, a private sector partner – AgBiTech, CIMMYT, FAO, USAID, and the South Sudan Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security (MAFS), the project is piloting the use of a baculovirus biopesticide called Fawligen.
Since 2017, CABI and partners have launched a series of extension campaigns in Kenya and Uganda in the fight against the invasive pest fall armyworm. These campaigns used integrated ICT-enabled approaches combining radio, SMS, and community video screenings with the aim of improving awareness, knowledge and management practices for fall armyworm.
Although smallholder agriculture is the main contributor to agricultural production in Africa and vital to food and nutritional security, agricultural productivity generally remains low.
A group of scientists have confirmed the first report of an egg parasitoid Telenomus remusin Africa which could prove an important biological weapon in the fight against the devastating fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda) that threatens the food security of more than 200 million people.
Farmers and authorities throughout Asia need to be vigilant against fall armyworm invasions, after confirmation that the fast-moving pest has spread from India to China and now to South-East Asia, agricultural experts say.
Warmer temperatures increase the metabolism and reproductive rates of the pest
Fall Armyworm was first reported in July 2018 in Karnataka. Ever since, it has spread to its neighbouring states. Reports are now coming from West Bengal and Bihar as well. The initial damages are widespread as the pest is a voracious feeder. But we have reacted quickly. The Karnataka government, for example, has issued ad hoc recommendations for emergency response against it.
CABI in partnership with Ministry of Agriculture in Zambia through the National Agricultural Information Services (NAIS) has launched a national radio campaign focusing on the identification, prevention and management of fall armyworm. The campaign aims to help smallholder farmers in Zambia minimise fall armyworm losses and learn how to safely use chemicals.
Global agriculture faces a myriad of threats, of which one of the greatest is invasive species. With no native organisms to control them, invasive species such as plant pests and diseases spread out of control, damaging crops and risking the food security of developing countries.