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A mobile app for monitoring and early detection of fall armyworm

Fall armyworm monitoring and early warning system (FAMEWS)

Fall Armyworm (FAW) (Spodoptera frugiperda), is an insect pest of more than 80 plant species, causing damage to economically important cultivated cereals such as maize, rice, sorghum, and also to vegetable crops and cotton. It is the larval stage of the insect that causes the damage. FAW reproduces at a rate of several generations per year, and the moth can fly up to 100 km per night.

The insect pest is native to tropical and subtropical regions of the Americas. In the African continent, it was first detected in Central and Western Africa in early 2016. By early 2018, only 10 out of the 54 African states and territories had not reported infestations by the invasive pest.

Maize is now the most infested crop in Africa. As a staple crop, it is unlikely that farmers and their families will want to abandon maize. FAO and its partners have been at the forefront of tackling FAW and continue to support prevention, early warning, and effective response.

An integral part of FAO’s sustainable management programme for FAW in Africa is the FAW Monitoring and Early Warning System (FAMEWS) mobile app. Data from the app provides valuable insights on how the insect populations change over time with ecology, to improve knowledge of its behaviour in Africa and guide best management.

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