The Fall Armyworm (FAW), or Spodoptera frugiperda, is an insect that is native to tropical and subtropical regions of the Americas. In the absence of natural control or good management, it can cause significant damage to crops. It prefers maize, but can feed on more than 80 additional species of crops, including rice, sorghum, millet, sugarcane, vegetable crops and cotton. FAW was first detected in Central and Western Africa in early 2016 and has quickly spread across virtually all of Sub-Saharan Africa. In July 2018 it was confirmed in India and Yemen.

By December 2018, it had been reported in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Thailand. As at June 2019, it has been reported in Myanmar, China, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia and Vietnam, Egypt and the Republic of Korea. Japan reported presence of FAW in July 2019. 

Because of trade and the moth's strong flying ability, it has the potential to spread further. Farmers will need great support through Integrated Pest Management to sustainability manage FAW in their cropping systems.

Global platform: FAW Monitoring & Early Warning System (FAMEWS)

FAO and the Fall Armyworm

FAO has proposed a five-year programme of action to help smallholder farmers, their organizations, their public institutions, national governments and development partners quickly respond to the challenges of FAW infestation. FAO is taking an active role in coordinating partners' activities, plans and approaches to provide sustainable solutions to the FAW challenge.

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