Global Action for Fall Armyworm Control

FAO has been working with many partners to identify, validate, and support the use of sustainable pest management practices for FAW. This includes the Integrated Pest Management programme for smallholders, which provides opportunities and platforms for further innovation to develop knowledge and science-based solutions for the smallholders’ context. Key approaches include the use of different agronomic practices such as push and pull, development of  host plant resistance varieties,  identification of less toxic pesticides and effective bio-pesticides, conservation and augmentation of natural enemies for biological control. Such approaches also include the use of safe, locally-available controls, and strengthened monitoring and surveillance for early detection and research.

Farmers in the Americas, where the pest originates, have been managing FAW for thousands of years. As a result, smallholder maize farmers of Mesoamerica and researchers there have many valuable lessons to share with smallholder farmers wherever FAW hits around the globe. For example, FAO organized a meeting of experts in July 2017 in Ghana to share knowledge and experiences from the Americas with their African counterparts. The experiences from the Americas and Africa are extremely relevant to the new regions in which FAW has recently spread: Near East and Asia.

Pesticide guidance:

FAO recommends an Integrated Pest Management approach with the use of low-risk pesticides as the last resort. However, FAO does not support any use of highly hazardous pesticides. Within the group of low-risk pesticides, biopesticides are considered to be the best option.

Pesticides are designed to be toxic to pests; therefore the risk associated with pesticides to all other life forms must be considered. This means that early warning, monitoring and scouting in the field allows farmers to apply pesticides when needed and more effective. In addition, precautionary measures, such as training in pesticide use, personal protective equipment, and other risk mitigation measures must be considered during the use of pesticides.

Three fundamental steps in pesticide risk reduction:


  • Reduce reliance on pesticides. Determine to what extent current levels of pesticide use are actually needed. Make optimum use of non-chemical pest management approaches and eliminate unjustified pesticide use.
  • Select pesticides with the lowest risk. If use of pesticides is deemed necessary, select products with the lowest risk to human health and the environment from the available registered products that are effective against the pest or disease.
  • Ensure proper use of the selected products for approved applications and in compliance with international standards.