Fighting the Fall Armyworm in Africa
In agreement with its humanitarian aid and innovation policy, Belgium has unlocked a one million euros fund for a monitoring, early-warning and risk-mapping system to manage Fall Armyworm in Africa.
The recent arrival of the Fall Armyworm (FAW) in sub-Saharan Africa has put maize harvests, especially those of smallholders, at grave risk. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is developing two new tools: the Fall Armyworm Monitoring and Early Warning System (FAMEWS) and the Fall Armyworm Risk-Map.
FAO has recently deployed a mobile application for use by farmers, communities and agriculture extension agents when they check fields and pheromone traps for FAW. The collected data help monitor FAW population levels and movements.
In addition to FAMEWS, FAO is developing a risk-mapping tool. This tool incorporates diverse socio-economic and agro-ecological data so that responders can visualize where the underlying risk of household food insecurity due to FAW is highest. The detailed analysis assists decision-makers in prioritizing and preparing for early action in targeted areas.
The project aims to show the usefulness of combining two innovative tools to fight a common pest on an Africa-wide scale. It may serve as a model for confronting a wide range of transboundary plant and animal pests and diseases, paving the way for new approaches to assessing and mitigating food-security risks around the continent.