FAO moves to scale up response to Fall Armyworm as pest continues to spread

FAO moves to scale up response to Fall Armyworm as pest continues to spread

22/12/2020

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is increasing efforts aimed at bolstering the global response to Fall Armyworm (FAW), considered one of the top 10 devastating plant pests affecting food and agriculture.

FAO Director-General, QU Dongyu, noted today that great strides had been made by the Global Action for Fall Armyworm Control (GA), a coordination mechanism established by him a year ago, but emphasized that many challenges remain to be tackled in the sustainable management of this pest.

Speaking at a virtual meeting of the Global Action's third steering committee, the Director-General noted FAW's reach was expanding, noting that it had been reported in four new countries in Asia and the Near East.

FAW is a voracious transboundary insect which targets maize and other food crops. Originating in the Americas, it invaded Africa in 2016 and has spread to over 70 countries in Africa, Asia and the Near East in only four years.  According to FAO's estimates, the pest is putting at risk up to 80 million tonnes of maize worth $18 billion per year in Africa, Asia and the Near East.