Updates from the Armyworm Network

Latest African and Fall Armyworm Forecast from ETOP – 5th Sep 2017


African armyworm (Spodoptera exempta) (AAW) outbreaks were reported in Eritrea from late July through mid-August. Control operations were carried out by the MinAgri and the regional administrations (DLCO-ERA).

Fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda) (FAW) infestations were reported in Cameroon, Ethiopia, Kenya, Ghana, South Sudan, Uganda, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe in August.


African Armyworm (Spodoptera exempta) (AAW):

From mid-August on, 3,450 ha were infested in Anseba, Gash-Barka as well as Southern and Central regions in Eritrea and control operations were launched by MinAgri and the regional admins. A late-received report indicated that AAW outbreaks occurred in Anseba, Debub, Bash-Barka and Maekel regions of Eritrea where 21,985 ha were reported attacked (60% cropping areas and 40% grazing land) of which control operations treated 8,815 ha. AAW outbreaks were not reported elsewhere in the primary outbreak areas during August (DLCO-ER, IRLCO-CSA, OFDA/PSPM).

Fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda) (FAW):

FAW continued affecting late planted and/or irrigated maize crops in Ethiopia, Kenya, Ghana, South Sudan, Uganda and Zimbabwe during August. The pest continues spreading and invading new territories where it causes damage to cereal crops etc. It was reported in Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Mali, and Niger and its presence in the Gambia, Sierra Leone and Senegal is being debated (FAO/SSD, IRLCO-CSA,
OFDA/PSPM, PPD/Ethiopia, IRLCOCSA).(Note: inexperienced observers can confuse FAW with the indigenous African armyworm (AAW) or other caterpillars that often attack maize and other crops in much the same way.

FAW was reported attacking maize, sorghum, rice, peanuts, cowpeas and beans in six of Cameroon’s ten regions. The pest poses a serious threat to the northern part of the country in areas bordering Nigeria, where more than 100,000 refugees fleeing Boko Haram reside. Cameroon has launched a task force to tackle the FAW problem. In an effort to control the pest and save their meager resources, farmers are using pesticides, but MinAgri technicians are advising them to look for alternative tools. As the pest continues spreading east towards Central African Republic, a country already struggling with complex emergencies, the situation will be further complicated (VOA).

In Ethiopia, as of August 24th 2017 (Nehasie 18, 2009 E.C.), 2,931,178 ha of maize and sorghum were reported planted in more than 7,524 villages in 401 districts in Amhara, Benishangul Gumuze, Gambela, SNNPR and Tigray. Re-infestations were also reported in Benishagul–Gumuze region. In SNNPR, the pest was reported attacking Teff (Eragrostis tef ) (Teff is a gluten-free grain loaded with generous nutritional value and a primary staple grain in the central highland regions of the Ethiopia) More than 685,004 ha were reported infested with FAW and 647,352 ha were reported controlled (282,648 by chemical and 364,702 ha by other means). Close to 1.5 million people, mainly farmers, have been mobilized in scouting and control operations (OFDA/PSPM,PPD/Ethiopia).


AAW: The AAW situation will remain calm and only limited activities may occur in Eritrea during the forecast period (DLCO-EA, OFDA/PSPM).

FAW: FAW will continue attacking late-planted and/or irrigated crops in Ethiopia, Kenya, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Cameroon, Central African Republic and may appear in Sudan and Eritrea. In the southern Africa outbreak region, FAW will likely attack irrigated 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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