Briefing Note on FAO Actions on Fall Armyworm in Africa

Published Date: 
Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Fall Armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda), FAW, is an insect native to tropical and subtropical regions of the Americas. Its larval stage (photo) feeds on more than 80 plant species, including maize, rice, sorghum, millet, sugarcane, vegetable crops and cotton. FAW can cause significant yield losses if not well managed. It can have a number of generations per year and the moth can fly up to 100 km per night. FAW was first detected in Central and Western Africa in early 2016 (Benin, Nigeria, Sao Tome and Principe, and Togo) and further reported and confirmed in whole of mainland Southern Africa (except Lesotho), in Madagascar, Seychelles (Island State), in Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Ethiopia, Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Uganda, and it is expected to go further. Its modality of introduction, along with its biological and ecological adaptation across Africa are still speculative. The pest being detected in Sudan raises the alert for Egypt. A map on page 7 shows the spread of the pest to-date. FAW is a dangerous transboundary pest with a high potential of continuing to spread due to its natural distribution capacity and trade. Farmers will need great support to sustainably manage FAW in their cropping systems through Integrated Pest Management.

By Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations