The recent spread of *Spodoptera frugiperda, *or Fall Armyworm (FAW), in Papua New Guinea’s Western Province is causing concern in the Pacific region.
Fall armyworm is a pest that preys on food crops such as maize (corn), sweet potato, vegetables, and wheat, and has the potential to cause significant damage to several important crops in PNG, including maize, sugarcane and rice.
The Pacific Community’s (SPC) Land Resources Division Pest and Management Advisor Fereti Atu warns the invasive pest can affect the region if precautions are not heeded. “We are closely monitoring the situation and have procured fall armyworm pheromone traps and lures from Costa Rica for distribution,” he said. “With the current rate of spread, the Melanesia island group faces a direct threat through this potential pathway initiated from Australia. It is now in PNG and next will very likely spread to the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji, etc.”