Maize crop attacked by the fall armyworm. Goromonzi, Zimbabwe, March 2018.
©FAO/Edward Ogolla

12.04.2018

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A new mobile app aims to support farmers to fight against Fall Armyworm infestation in Africa. By early 2018, more than 40 African states and territories had reported Fall Armyworm infestations.

A mobile application to fight Fall Armyworm in Africa was launched by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations in March 2018.

The Fall Armyworm Monitoring and Early Warning System (FAMEWS) mobile app provides insights on how the insect changes over time and space to improve knowledge of its behaviour in Africa –in a new context –and guide best response.

It aims to enable farmers to identify, report the level of infestation, and map the spread of the insect, as well as to describe its natural enemies and the measures that are most effective in managing it.

Once farmers check their crops for infestations and upload the required data, the app calculates infestation levels so that they can take immediate action to manage the situation.

The data is validated by national Fall Armyworm focal points and transferred to a global web-based platform. It is then analysed to give a real-time situation overview with maps of Fall
Armyworm infestations and the measures that were most effective in reducing its impact.

Updates to the app in the coming months will provide additional functionality such as an offline advisory system that provides immediate guidance to the user, based on the collected data,
and a diagnostic tool that uses the camera of the mobile phone to determine Fall Armyworm damage levels to maize.

Fall Armyworm has already infected millions of hectares of maize in Africa, threatening the food security of more than 300 million people, mainly smallholder farmers who are already struggling to make ends meet and have enough food for their families.

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