Fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda) (FAW): FAW was reported in maize crops in Burundi, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Somalia, Tanzania, Uganda and in irrigated crops in southern Ethiopia during December.
African armyworm (Spodoptera exempta) (AAW): Large numbers of AAW moth catches were recorded in Tanzania during December. However, no caterpillars were reported in the southern or eastern outbreak regions during this time.
Fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda) (FAW):
FAW was reported in maize crops in Malawi, where crop damage to maize was reported in 20 of the 28 districts during December. The pest was first detected in the southern parts of the country and spread further and will likely move northwards where maize planting follows the seasonal rainfall. The GoM has issued a disaster declaration to control the pest that reported threatening food security and livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of households. It has provided pesticides and technical guidance to the affected farmers. Training and awareness raising are in progress. USAID provides assistance through media messaging and distributing printed materials to educate communities in FAW control; creating call centers to assist farmers with FAW questions, providing pheromone traps for surveillance and monitoring; supporting research trials on pesticide efficacy and providing ToT in pest control and damage assessments through private sector engagement.
In Rwanda, more than 18,355 ha of the 258,133 ha of maize crops were reported affected by FAW as of December. Proper weeding, handpicking and crushing larvae and eggs masses and pesticides were utilized to control the pest. 90-95% crop recovery through this control means was reported in the northern and western parts of the country. No FAW presence was reported elsewhere in the country as of December 2017 (MoA/Rwanda).
In Burundi, the pest was reported attacking early planted maize crops across the country during December. It was also reported in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda during this month.
FAW was reported in maize crops in Sofala province in Mozambique where control operations were conducted by the affected farmers with material and technical assistance from the Ministry of Agriculture.
In Uganda, timely control interventions by the Crop Protection Department of the Ministry of Agriculture resulted in significant reduction in crop damage and that the country expects a bumper harvest this cropping season. Elsewhere in the region, FAW may have begun causing damage to irrigated or rain-fed cereal crops (DLCO-EA) The need for developing ecologically sustainable, economically profitable and socially acceptable IPM programs to mitigate the impact of the FAW in Africa where hundreds of millions of resource strained farmers eke their living from small-scale farming remains critical to avert food crisis and economic stagnation.
African Armyworm (Spodoptera exempta) (AAW):
AAW outbreaks were not reported in the seasonal outbreak regions in Africa during December. However, large numbers of moth catches were recorded in Mbeya, Lindi and Shinyanga regions in Tanzania during this time.
FORECAST FOR THE NEXT 6 WEEKS:
FAW: FAW will remain a threat to irrigated or rain-fed maize and other crops across Africa during the forecast period.
AAW: AAW outbreak is expected to appear in the southern 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.