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FAO launches guide to tackle maize worm

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) launched today a comprehensive guide on the integrated pest management of the Fall Armyworm on maize.

The Fall Armyworm (FAW) is spreading across most of Africa, damaging millions of hectares of maize, most in the hands of smallholder farmers.

The guide will help smallholder farmers and frontline agricultural staff to manage FAW more effectively amidst fears that FAW may push more people into hunger. Central and Southern Africa are particularly on high alert, as the main maize growing season is currently underway in these regions.

FAO launched a comprehensive guide on the integrated pest management of Fall Armyworm on maize. Photo: FAO
FAO launched a comprehensive guide on the integrated pest management of Fall Armyworm on maize. Photo: FAO

Be prepared

FAO also calls on those African countries likely to be affected soon, given the current distribution of FAW in Africa, to get prepared by:

  • re-enforcing early warning systems at community level,
  • raising awareness among farmers,
  • and using available materials, such as the guide

By early 2018, only 10 (mostly in the north of the continent) out of the 54 African states and territories have not reported infestations by the invasive pest.

Some key guidelines and advice on effectively and sustainably managing FAW are mentioned in the picture below.

New app

Work is also underway to launch a FAW Monitoring and Early Warning System (FAMEWS) app in Madagascar, Zambia, and South Africa, and then gradually roll-it out across the continent. Already tested, the FAO app will enable farmers to send vital info about their crops’ health, helping to generate detailed and reliable knowledge on FAW infestation levels, FAW adult population levels, and on the outcomes of actions taken against FAW.

The guide can be seen read here.

3 comments

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  • Andrew Koech

    This FAO guide , I find it very handy. I will try out some of the suggestions I have already read in it . Thank you .

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