Maize in Lipompo Province (South Africa), infested with the fall armyworm, March 2017. <br/> Photo: © FAO/Steven Lazaro
Maize in Lipompo Province (South Africa), infested with the fall armyworm, March 2017.
Photo: © FAO/Steven Lazaro

14.09.2017

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Since early 2017, the fall armyworm, a native of the Americas, has been spreading in Africa. Experts reckon that it will not be possible to completely exterminate the insect in the continent. On the contrary, it seems probable that the area infested with the fall armyworm is going to increase, which means that farmers will have to learn how to handle this pest.

Fall armyworm presence has been detected by 31 African countries as of August 2017. And it is likely to spread into the Middle East and eventually to Europe, according to Professor Kenneth Wilson at the UK’s Lancaster University, who has extensive experience working on the African armyworm.
  
The fall armyworm has now arrived in Africa from the Americas and is here to stay. It will not be eradicated. This is the conclusion of several fall armyworm experts at a meeting supported by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and held in Accra, Ghana, in late July 2017.
  
Following this conclusion, tens of millions of maize farmers across Africa have to learn how to save their crops from fall armyworm. In sub-Saharan Africa, over 95 per cent of maize farmers are smallholder family farmers. They often grow a diversity of crops, with limited access to inputs and services, and frequently receive low prices for the maize they sell to markets.

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