Impact of fall armyworm invasion on household income and food security in Zimbabwe
Published: March, 2021
Since 2016, the invasive fall armyworm (FAW), Spodoptera frugiperda, has been one of the most rapidly spreading and highly devastating maize pests across Africa and Asia. Although several studies have estimated the effect of FAW on maize yield, little is known about its impact on broader welfare outcomes. Using data from smallholder maize-growing households in Zimbabwe, this article aimed to measure the impact of FAW on household income and food security, as well as the extent to which the adoption of a control strategy can help mitigate the negative welfare impacts due to FAW invasion. Regression results showed that households affected by FAW were 12% more likely to experience hunger, as measured by the household hunger scale. A disaggregated analysis indicated that minor FAW infestation did not exert significant impacts on incomes and food security, but severe level of infestation reduced per capita household income by 44% and increased a household’s likelihood of experiencing hunger by 17%. We also found that compared to unaffected households, the FAW-affected households who failed to implement a control strategy had a 50% lower per capita household income, while their counterparts that implemented a control strategy did not suffer a significant income loss. These findings point to the need to promote strategies to prevent high infestation levels of FAW so as to mitigate its detrimental welfare effects.
Farmers’ crops are increasingly at the mercy of climate change, pests and diseases. PlantwisePlus will work to help countries predict, prepare for and prevent potential threats and reduce crop losses. We will provide comprehensive support to countries and farmers so they meet the increasing global demand for quality food in a changing climate.
The global cost of invasive species is estimated at US$1.4 trillion per year – close to 5% of global gross domestic product. Invasives disproportionately affect vulnerable communities in poor rural areas, especially in developing countries which depend on natural resources, healthy ecosystems, trade and tourism for their livelihoods.
Start: 02/01/18 -End: 31/03/21