Acción mundial de lucha contra el gusano cogollero del maíz

In the Central Africa Geo-zone, the focus is on sustainable pest management when it comes to fall armyworm management

28 March 2022

During a field visit in Foumbot in western Cameroon, members of a cooperative of young farmers discuss the next steps for a successful implementation of the Global Action for Fall Armyworm Control, supported by FAO. (Photo: © FAO)


A regional training workshop to enhance the capacity of national focal points from central Africa countries in monitoring, early warning and sustainable management of the aggressive fall armyworm (FAW) pest was the focus of a recent workshop and field visit in Cameroon organized through the Global Action for Fall Armyworm Control.

The workshop in Yaoundé also aimed to strengthen coordination between demonstration and pilot countries of the Global Action, through classroom theory as well as farm-level practical sessions. Participants at the workshop that began 28 February 2022 included national focal points from central Africa countries, plant protection officers from ten regions of Cameroon, extension officers, researchers and FAO facilitators. They validated a regional integrated pest management (IPM) strategy document and a two-year work plan for continued Global Action against the persistent FAW pest at the central Africa geo-zone level. 

Some 25 participants joined, coming from Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Gabon, the Republic of the Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Updates were heard on FAW management using biological control options, such as the production and release of Telenomus remus  and entomopathogens; as well as botanicals and biopesticides such as Neem extract for FAW management. Sessions also involved community-based approaches for building farmers’ capacity, and training in using the Fall Armyworm Monitoring and Early Warning System (FAMEWS) mobile phone app, including field scouting, data collection, the FAMEWS Global Platform and integration with the Hand-in-Hand geospatial platform. 

The workshop was officially opened by Ms Mbong Epse Bambot Grace Annih, Cameroon’s Secretary General of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MINADER). She is also chair of the FAW National Task Force in Cameroon.

“Participants shared valuable inputs including concerns about the use of highly hazardous pesticides to control FAW - these chemicals have consequences on health of the farmers,” said  Jean Claude Rwaburindi, technical Integration and technology transfer specialist with the FAW Secretariat. “They also discussed the availability and cost of pheromones, which is affecting FAW monitoring in central African countries.” 

The FAW Secretariat is working in close collaboration with the Cameroon National Task Force for Fall Armyworm Control and focal points from seven pilot countries, including Central African Republic, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, the Republic of the Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Sao Tome and Principe. Together, they developed the regional IPM strategy with a special focus on Cameroon as the demonstration country and an aim of establishing strong coordination between demonstration and pilot countries. That strategy was initially evaluated in December 2021 at the national level with recommendations from stakeholders in Cameroon. 

Over the last few years, FAW has rapidly spread around Africa, the Near East, Asia and the Pacific from its home in the Americas. Urgent action is required to prevent this pest from threatening the global food security and livelihoods of millions of smallholder families around the world. In response, FAO has developed the three-year Global Action, which began operations in 2020, to reduce crop losses due to FAW and to decrease the risk of further spread and infestation in countries where the pest has so far had only a limited presence. 

The Global Action has also established a coordination mechanism at global, regional and national levels and is being implemented in a coordinated and harmonised manner in three regions: Africa, Near East and Asia-Pacific. Those three regions are classified into geographic zones with eight demonstration countries – including Cameroon – and 53 pilot countries.

Following the workshop and training sessions, a two-day field visit was organized in the area around Ntui in central Cameroon, and around Foumbot in the western region. Foumbot holds particular significance because it is also the first site in Cameroon where FAW was reported. At the same time, members of a young farmers cooperative, local leaders and extension agents were consulted during discussions focused on collaborations for successful implementation of the Global Action. 

The field visit aimed at identifying sites for demonstrations of IPM technology in the two locations. The demonstration plots will involve members of the farmer cooperatives in the two regions and are expected to provide an inspiration for cooperative members to manage FAW on their plots, collectively measuring up to 86 ha in Ntui and 200 ha in Foumbot. Intercropping of maize with beans will be promoted and the demonstration fields will be managed by local extension agents and a farmers’ youth cooperative with support from MINADER. Maize planting season was expected to start in March 2022 and field days will be organized throughout the season with a geo-zone field visit likely in mid-June 2022.