Updates from the Armyworm Network

Latest African and Fall Armyworm Forecast from ETOP – 5th Feb 2018


Fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda) (FAW): FAW continued appearing in rain-fed and irrigated crops in southern and eastern Africa during January.

African armyworm (Spodoptera exempta) (AAW): AAW outbreak was reported on pasture in Tanzania during January.


Fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda) (FAW):

During January, FAW infestations were reported in rain-fed and/or irrigated crops in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Mozambique, and Tanzania. It was also reported in Ethiopia, but this needs to be verified.

In Zambia, outbreaks were reported in short rain maize growing areas and on irrigated wheat and soybean.

In Malawi, FAW was first detected in the southern part of the country in December and later spread further, expected to reach the northern growing region following cropping patterns which is influenced by the rainfall pattern which trails behind the ITZ-based seasonal rains. Training and awareness raising through media messaging, distributions of printed info materials, establishing call centers, providing pheromone traps for monitoring FAW movement and presence to alert the need for scouting, etc., were intensified through assistance from USAID and other partners as well as country’s own programs.

In Mozambique, FAW was reported affected close to 8,300 ha of which 7,914 ha were controlled and 313 ha were severely damaged (overall, the pest affected 2,739 families) during January (IRLCO-CSA)

In Tanzania, FAW was reported in several districts across 9 regions including Coastal areas, Geita, Songwe, Mbeya, Shinyanga, Kilimanjaro, Njombe, Ruvuma and Mtwara. PHS staff trained thru USAID and FAO ToT provided training for 30 District PPOs and several PHS staff in Rukwa region and Arusha areas in monitoring, scouting and using IPM interventions to manage the pest as well as in awareness raising to the policy and (MinAgri, the Cabinet) and farmers level. This was done via TV, newspaper and other means. PHS strongly believes that this fast spreading pest warrants intensive awareness creation, training of Agricultural Extension Officers and farmers on IPM, setting up and servicing pheromone traps, dissemination of technologies and tools for management, including safer and appropriate recommended pesticides, etc. (PHS/Tanzania).

In Mozambique, FAW was reported in January in maize crops in Sofala province where control operations were launched by the affected farmers with material and technical assistance from the MinAgri.

In Uganda FAW infestations were not reported during January as the rain-fed maize crops where in the harvest stage. (Note: In December, 2018, what appears to have been a combination of heavy rain and, according to a Kampala-based DFLCO-EA base manager who referred his information source to the NPPO/Uganda, timely control interventions effectively minimized FAW impacts on maize crops, predicting a bumper harvest (DLCO-EA, and personal communication with CABI) In Ethiopia, FAW infestations were reported in irrigated crops in several districts where control operations were launched by the affected farmers (DLCO-EA; further clarifications are forthcoming on this).

FAW was reported by PPD/Somalia in January in irrigated sorghum in Somalia, but further detail was not available at the time this bulletin was prepared.

In Zambia, FAW was first reported in seasonal maize crops in the southern part of the country in Chilanga, Choma, Pemba, Monze, Mazabuka and Chibombo and irrigated wheat and soybean and control interventions were launched by the affected farmers with assistance by MinAgri (personal communication).

African Armyworm (Spodoptera exempta) (AAW):

AAW outbreak was reported in Morogoro region of Tanzania, but no outbreaks were reported elsewhere during this time (IRLCO-CSA).


FAW: FAW will remain a threat to irrigated or rain-fed maize and other crops across several regions in Africa during the forecast period. Active surveillance and timely reporting and interventions remain critical. According to a UN/FAO’s latest January, 2018 report, FAW has been detected in nearly all of sub-Saharan African countries except Djibouti, Eritrea, Lesotho and Seychelles.

In Southern Africa and Central Africa where the seasonal cropping season is tapering off and/or in progress, the pest will continue spreading across districts and regions threatening/attacking maize and other crops. In Eastern Africa the pest will threaten irrigated crops and other off-season vegetation. In Sahel West Africa, the pest may survive on plants along river banks and before it starts moving to maize and other cereal crops during the rainy season. In northern African, FAW presence has not been yet reported, the situation will likely remain calm until perhaps it employs its hop-spread phenomenon with the help of favorable air current.

AAW: AAW outbreak is expected to appear in central outbreak regions where seasonal rains have been reported.

Trap operators for AAW [and FAW as applicable] are advised to actively monitor their traps. Trap monitoring must be accompanied by routine crop scouting to detect egg and larval presence. Egg and larval detections must be reported instantly to facilitate timely preventive control interventions. Moth catches must be reported to forecasting officers and concerned staff and authorities to facilitate rapid interventions (IRLCO-CSA, OFDA/AELGA).

Active monitoring, surveillance, routine pheromone trap inspection and crop scouting as well as information sharing and reporting remain critical to help implement preventive interventions to abate any major damage the pest could cause to crops.


This forecast comes from and uses material provided by DLCO-EA, IRLCO-CSA and OFDA/AELGA. It was originally issued by USAID’s Emergency Transboundary Outbreak Pest (ETOP) programme and is summarised here by the Armyworm Network (@spodoptera007) hosted by Lancaster University.

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