Briefing Note on FAO actions on Fall Armyworm (FAW) in Africa, 20 June 2017
Fall Armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda) is a moth native to tropical and subtropical regions of the Americas, whose caterpillar or larva (photo) causes damage. It is mainly a pest of maize, with potential hosts from 26 plant families. During infestation plant damage results in total yield loss or reduced grain quality and quantity. FAW has several 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 in late 2016, in Southern Africa. In 2017 it has been detected in the whole of mainland Southern Africa (except Lesotho and the Island States), in Cameroon, Ghana, Niger and Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda, and it is expected to go further. For the time being, its modality of introduction and its spread to Africa and adjustments of its bio-ecology are still speculative. A map on page 4 shows the spread of the pest to-date.
FAW is a dangerous transboundary pest with a high potential of spreading due to bioecological and trade aspects. The only way to manage FAW in the long term is through Integrated Pest Management.