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 Seychelles (Island State), in Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Niger, Senegal, and Ethiopia, Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Uganda, and it is expected to go further. The pest has been detected in Sudan raising the alert for the North Africa and Near East region. Its modality of introduction, along with its biological and ecological adaptation across Africa are still speculative.
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.
FAO COORDINATION ROLE IN FAW MANAGEMENT
1. A Framework for Partnership for Sustainable Management of the Fall Armyworm in Africa: Based on the action points and recommendations identified in the All Africa Consultation meeting in Nairobi, FAO has formulated a region-wide multi-stakeholder Framework for the Coordinated Management of FAW which has been reconfigured into a Framework for Partnership for sustainable management for the Fall Armyworm in Africa composed of seven components as follows:
Management of FAW; Immediate Recommendations & Actions; Short-term Research Priorities; Medium to Long-term Research; Communications & Training; Surveillance & Early Warning; Policy & Regulatory Support; Coordination. This Framework is intended as a guide for the development of projects and programmes by the various stakeholders in the areas of their comparative advantages, including FAO. The Framework has been presented during the 2 nd Conference of the AU Specialized Technical Committee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Water and Environment on 3 October. It has received the STC’ endorsement while comments are still expected from stakeholders to finalize it.
2. FAO Programme for Action for Sustainable Management of the Fall Armyworm in Africa. Based on the Framework for Partnership, FAO formulated a Programme for Action composed of 6 components costed at USD 87 million. This Programme has been presented as a side event at the African Union Second Conference of the Specialized Technical Committee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Water and Environment during a Partners’ Round Table on 4 October 2017.
3. African Union meeting: A meeting took place between FAO and African Union Commission (AUC) in Addis Ababa on 29 June 2017, to discuss coordination on immediate, mid-term and strategic response to manage FAW in Africa. FAO presented the Framework for Partnership on FAW sustainable management in Africa during the Senior Officials/Experts segment of the 2 nd Conference of the AU Specialized Technical Committee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Water and Environment on 3 October. It was endorsed by the ministerial segment of the STC on 6 October 2017. A Partners’ Round Table on FAO FAW Programme for Action for Sustainable Management of the FAW in Africa was organized on 4 October, 2017 as a side event of the 2nd AU STC.
4. Consultative meeting in Harare (14-16 February 2017) with governments and stakeholders from Southern Africa, which addressed pest awareness, situational update, emergency preparedness and rapid response for management of transboundary plant pests and animal diseases.
- FAO organized and co-organized two back to back meetings in Nairobi:
a. FAO Southern Africa FAW Technical Meeting (25-26 April 2017) was held to review and update current status of the pest as well as to assess its impact on production and livelihoods with extended participation of all FAO sub-regional offices in Africa.
b. All Africa Stakeholders Consultation meeting AGRA/CIMMYT/FAO (27-28 April 2017) main objectives were to review the status of the pest incidence and impact in Africa and discuss the options for minimizing damage caused by the FAW. Participants in the meeting included CIMMYT, IITA, CABI, AGRA, National Governments, Plant Protection Officers and Extension Staff, Coordination of Agricultural Research and Development for Southern Central Africa, Resource Partners, and world renowned experts on Fall Armyworm research. It has been agreed in the above meeting with partners that FAO takes the lead coordination in FAW response in Africa.