Helping farmers manage fall armyworm as it takes hold in Africa and spreads to Asia
CABI has been at the centre of tackling the invasive fall armyworm in Africa, where it affects 44 countries. Not stopping on the African continent, the pest has also invaded China, India, Myanmar, Thailand and Yemen, with expectations of further rapid spread through other Asian countries. Read more about fall armyworm.
In CABI’s 2018 fall armyworm evidence note, household surveys revealed that maize farmers had average losses of 26.6% in Ghana and 35% in Zambia due to the pest. Applying pesticides remained the most frequent control method used, sometimes including highly toxic products, which shows how urgent it has become to make safer options more available, especially now the invasion has spread further.
Research for sustainable management
CABI and national partners tested how effective biopesticides, botanicals and traditional methods for fall armyworm control are in a number of African countries – work which contributes to the identification of a range of sustainable, non-chemical approaches for managing this pest in future. Promisingly, surveys for natural enemies of the fall armyworm showed that at least 12 biocontrol agents already attack the invasive insect on the continent, so prospects for the biological control of fall armyworm are encouraging.
‘Tech’ for good
CABI supported the US government’s ‘fall armyworm Tech prize’, which sought to encourage digital innovations that would play a role in identifying, treating and tracking the pest in Africa. As a testing partner for the prize, CABI evaluated the 20 finalists’ prototypes through field testing in Uganda with focus groups of farmers, extension workers and agro-input suppliers. Of the many entrants, six were selected for cash prizes, which will be invested into improving their innovations so that they provide a benefit to all.
Outreach and information
Communication campaigns on fall armyworm used text, print, radio and video messages to support extension services and farmers managing the pest on their farm. Based on data gathered, we estimate the campaigns directly reached more than 500,000 farmers across several African countries. Studies in Uganda following one campaign showed that those who participated went on to implement an additional two fall armyworm management practices over and above those who had not.
CABI has developed a number of core skills which will ensure it achieves its strategic goals.
Our work is delivered through dedicated teams and key partners in over 40 countries across the world.
Sustainable Development Goals
Helping small-scale farmers improve their livelihoods by providing knowledge about plant health and access to markets.
Developing a sustainable food system that helps smallholders meet the world's growing need for food.
Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, combat land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.
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GIZ Crop Protection Baseline Study
Pests and diseases often limit how much smallholder famers can produce. They affect crops both pre and post-harvest by reducing their value or making them unsafe for human consumption. Farmers try to reduce losses through a range of techniques, some of which have human or environmental health impacts. This project aims to understand and report on current crop protection practices and identify the most effective, safe and innovative options to integrate into GIZs programmes in 14 countries.
Start: 11/07/2017 End: 30/11/2018