ADDIS ABABA-- Global experts have produced a new comprehensive integrated pest management guide to fight the spread of the Fall Armyworm (FAW) which poses a critical food security threat in Africa, says the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

The guide is expected to help scientists, plant protection organizations, extension services agencies, research institutions and governments working with farmers to tackle the spread of the pest in Africa.

The FAW, which is actually the larval stage of a moth, poses a serious threat to food security and livelihoods of millions of smallholder farm households in Africa, because of its rapid spread and distinctive ability to inflict widespread damage across multiple crops.

It is an invasive crop pest which can feed on 80 different crop species, including maize, a staple food consumed by more than 300 million farm families in Africa.

The pest was first confirmed in Africa in 2016. The moth is not native to Africa and is believed to have been unknowingly transported to the continent from South America.

Experts warn that the emergence and rapid spread of the pest in Africa seriously threatens the food and income security of hundred millions of smallholder farmers. If proper control measures are not implemented, it could cause extensive maize yield losses, estimated at between 3.6 billion and 6.2 billion US dollars per year across 12 maize-producing African countries.

Over the past couple of years, the FAW has been spreading across many countries in Africa, including Ethiopia.


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