Efforts in South Sudan to fight Fall armyworm, an insect that destroys crops, have received a boost thanks to the Government of Japan’s decision to provide $3 million to support a project run by Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP) together with South Sudan’s Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security. The project seeks to train farmers to combat the spread of Fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda), strengthen food security and build the resilience of local communities in affected areas.
“Under the current situation where nearly half of South Sudan’s population is estimated to be food insecure, the spread of Fall armyworm must be addressed very urgently. We hope our support will contribute to efforts by the South Sudan Government, through FAO and WFP, against Fall armyworm,” said Shigeru Hamano, Charge d’Affaires of the Embassy of Japan in South Sudan.
“With this funding, FAO is able to bring our global and regional expertise on pest management to South Sudan,” said Serge Tissot, FAO Country Representative in South Sudan. “Since Fall armyworm was first detected in Africa in early 2016, our world-renowned experts have developed integrated pest management strategies for affected countries and have trained experts in over 30 countries to enable response.”
“This very timely contribution allows FAO and WFP to combine forces with the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security to combat Fall armyworm and build resilience to shocks,” said WFP Country Director Adnan Khan. “In addition, families whose crops suffered will receive vital food support at this difficult time.” FAO and WFP will work together to give local authorities and farmers in affected areas training to address Fall armyworm.
WFP will capitalize on its extensive field presence and access to communities to protect their assets such as crops and enhance capacities to manage Fall armyworm infestation. FAO will coordinate and lead the implementation of its global Fall armyworm strategy in South Sudan, where farmer education and community action are critical elements to manage insect populations sustainably and cost effectively. Beyond promoting specific immediate, easy to implement and simple control practices, the purpose is to enable farmers to manage the Fall Armyworm using appropriate control techniques that help secure their harvests on the longer term.
Japan’s strong support for FAO and WFP in South Sudan comes at a time when needs in the country are rising and donor resources are stretched by crises across the world. Earlier this year parts of South Sudan experienced famine and while conditions have eased, some 4.8 million people across the country are experiencing severe food insecurity - 1.4 million more than at the same time last year. The latest contribution brings the total amount of funding from the Government of Japan to WFP in South Sudan so far this year to $11.9 million – up from previous funding levels in 2015 and 2016.
With the support of donors such as Japan, WFP last month fed a total of 2.9 million people across South Sudan as part of an emergency response to the threat of famine due to widespread conflict, economic collapse and record numbers of people going hungry.
With this pledge, Japan has joined FAO and its other donors in the fight against hunger in South Sudan. As part of its multi-donor emergency and resilience response programme, FAO has reached over 4 million people with the provision of fishing, crop- and vegetable-growing kits and vaccinated more than 7 million livestock to save lives through the strengthening of livelihoods. Also, smallholder farmers, fisherfolk and pastoralists are supported to prevent and address threats to the food chain through various capacity building interventions.