Food Chain Crisis

Fall Armyworm forecasting

The Food Chain Crisis develops quarterly forecasts at regional and country levels of threats to the food chain affecting food security worldwide.

Read the latest forecasts on FAW spread (April-June 2020) in Africa and Asia:

Africa forecast 

• In East Africa, fall armyworm (FAW) presence has been officially confirmed in all East African countries except Djibouti. In most East Africa countries, the forecast period (April – June) coincides with the major growing season of maize, the pest’s preferred host, and the maize crop will be at risk. Unless appropriate action is taken, the likelihood of spread and damage will be high because the pest will have full access to the susceptible maize crop.

• In North Africa, Egypt has officially reported presence of FAW on maize fields in southern Egypt, and the pest continues to spread northwards. The Sudan has reported introduction of the pest since 2017. The climate in Egypt and the Sudan allows for the continuous planting of many host plants, which increases the likelihood of pest spread and damage. Mauritania is highly susceptible to FAW introduction, principally in its border regions with suitable climatic conditions: Trarza, Brakna, Gorgol, Guidimaka, Assaba, Hodh El Gharbi, and Hodh Ech Chargui Regions, and particularly the irrigated farms in the Senegal River basin that grow host plants.

• In Southern Africa, during this forecast period, most countries will be in the end of the growing season; therefore, there will be a likelihood of FAW amplification and spread.

• In Central Africa, the likelihood of FAW spread and amplification of FAW depends on the availability of the host plant in different countries. If the growing season starts or is under way during the forecast period, then there is a moderate likelihood of amplification. Otherwise, if the growing season is ending or the crop is in the harvest period, then there will be a moderate likelihood of FAW spread.

• In West Africa, FAW is established in all 15 countries. The forecast period will coincide with the starting of the maize season in most of the countries. Therefore, FAW populations that have survived through the dry season are likely to re-emerge and amplify on the fresh crop.

Asia forecast

• In South Asia, fall armyworm (FAW) has been causing limited damage in most countries; however, even this relatively modest level of damage is economically important and a high alert has been activated. The chances of FAW spreads in the coming season is very high, given that most of the countries in South Asia and some in the Pacific region are easy to invade. The long dry spell is also favouring this pest, despite the modest level of control options and preparations put in place.

• In West Asia, Yemen officially declared the introduction of FAW in 2018. This increases the risk of introduction of the pest into countries such as Oman and Saudi Arabia. The border between Yemen and Oman have a continuous range of vegetation featuring host plants that favour pest spread to farms in Dhofar Governorate, Oman. In addition, the suitable climatic conditions and vegetative cover along the western part of the shared border will encourage pest introduction into the Jazan, Najran and Asir Regions in Saudi Arabia.

Download the FAO Food Chain Crisis Bulletin for detailed forecasts at country level.