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FAO raising awareness and providing capacity development on monitoring and early warning tools for the Fall Armyworm in Africa

Sharing knowledge through South-South and Triangular Cooperation (SSTC)

06/09/2018 - 

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) organized a series of webinars from 09 May to 28 June 2018 to raise awareness and provide capacity development on tools FAO has developed for the monitoring and early warning of the Fall Armyworm (FAW) in Africa, and its sharing of knowledge through South-South and Triangular Cooperation (SSTC).

Two webinar series were organized, the first one on Fall Armyworm Monitoring and Early Warning System (FAMEWS) mobile app, and the second one on the FAW Risk Model and Map (FAWRisk-Map). This joint effort was the result of a fruitful collaboration among Strategic Programmes, Technical Divisions in FAO, namely AGP, TCE, SP5, DPS, and the Regional Office for Africa (RAF).

The first series consisted of sessions specifically designed for each of the four FAO sub-regional offices for Africa. The sessions were presented in English and French, and reached more than 100 participants. Having speakers and moderators from the field was definitely a benefit to the webinars. Armed with knowledge of the situation in their own sub-region, colleagues were able to explain in depth about the opportunities that the FAMEWS can offer for each sub-region for FAW monitoring and early warning. The second series was divided in two sessions, one in English and other one in French, and has reached more than 70 participants.

FAMEWS is a tool for recording and sending data collected every time a farmer, community focal person or agriculture extension agent checks a field or pheromone traps for FAW. The app currently works on any low-cost smartphone and is available in ten languages while other local languages are under translation. It only requires a cell network or Internet connection when sending the data, which is equivalent to a short message. Widespread and regular use of the tool will help to monitor the presence of FAW and changes in its distribution at the local, district, national and regional levels. The data will be validated by nationally-designated FAW Focal Points in each country before it is used for mapping and analysis on a centralized Africa-wide web platform. FAMEWS will provide farmers, communities and national decision-makers with vital assessments on risks, spread and management of FAW.

The two tools are connected as the FAW prevalence data collected via FAMEWS will also feed the FAWRisk Index, which determines the risk of food insecurity due to FAW infestations at admin 2 level in Africa. This risk is calculated as being the product of two factors: exposure of the FAW on one side, and the vulnerability and lack of capacity of the population and the Government to cope with the pest on the other side.

The results are then represented on the FAWRisk-Map, which allows to visualize the areas where the risk is the highest. The map is useful for partners at all levels (global to local) for decision-making, planning and implementation of FAW prevention and control measures.

The South-South Cooperation (SSC) component of the FAMEWS mobile app tool emphasizes that information is collected by farmers, communities, extension services, Farmer Field Schools, NGOs and others who are engaged in knowledge sharing with neighboring regions, districts and countries. This creates an opportunity for counties from the South to be warned on how the pest is spreading.

The webinar series was organized as the result from direct requests received by the SSC Unit from the countries to receive more information about available FAO’s tools on early warning and monitoring of FAW. The webinars were a first step as an information sharing opportunity that will enable the environment for future SSC exchanges in the ground. SSC will continue to play a substantial role not only on the sustainable management, but also on the early warning and monitoring of the FAW, as some opportunities for inter-regional SSC exchanges (Africa to Africa) were identified, to share the lessons learned so far in the region.

Please find below the recordings list. For more information, you can download all the presentations from the final screen at the end of each webinar.


First webinar series: FAMEWS

Webinar recording links:

9 May - in English, tailor-made for countries from the Sub-regional office for Eastern Africa

16 May - in English, tailor-made for countries from the Sub-regional office for Southern Africa

23 May - in French, tailor-made for countries from the Sub-regional office for Central Africa

30 May - in French, tailor-made for countries from the Sub-regional office for Western Africa.


Second webinar series: FAWRisk-Map (to access please use the pass code: FallArmyworm)

Webinar recording links:

13 June – in English

28 June – in French