United States Assists Malawi To Combat Fall Armyworm

Lilongwe, February 13:   The U.S. Government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), is actively assisting the government and people of Malawi to combat the invasive crop pest called fall army-worm.  USAID’s assistance to date has included media campaigns to educate farmers on pest identification and control, in-person trainings with farmers, technical messages for use by extension workers, distribution of 1,400 pheromone traps as part of a national early warning system, and funding to test 11 pesticides for efficacy in controlling fall army-worm.  USAID also facilitated a recent visit to Malawi by South African experts to assess the situation and provide training on pest identification, estimation of infestation rates, and control measures to public and private sector extension workers.

To combat the spread of the fall army-worm across the African continent, international experts recently gathered to produce a new comprehensive integrated pest management (IPM) guide to help scientists, extension agents, and farmers tackle the voracious all army-worm.  Fall Army-worm in Africa: A Guide for Integrated Pest Management was jointly produced under the U.S. Government’s Feed the Future initiative by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), and the CGIAR Research Program on Maize (CRP MAIZE).  The guide contains tips on pest identification, available technologies, and best practices for managing fall army-worm.  It is based on scientific evidence and contains expert advice for plant protection organizations, extension agencies, research institutions, and governments working with smallholder farmers to better understand fall army-worm and the significant agricultural challenge it will pose to Africa for years to come.  The guide, which will be periodically updated as new information becomes available, can be accessed on the Internet via this link here.

In 2016, an invasive crop pest called the fall army-worm was first confirmed in Africa.  Native to the Americas, fall army-worm can feed on 80 different crop species including maize, a staple food produced by over 300 million African smallholder farm families.  Since its 2016 discovery, the crop pest has since been found in over 30 African countries, posing a significant threat to food security, income, and livelihoods.  If proper control measures are not implemented, the pest could cause extensive maize yield losses, estimated between $3.6 and $6.2 billion per year across the 12 major African maize producing countries, according to an evidence note published by the Center for Agriculture and Bio-sciences International (CABI) in September 2017.


Feed the Future is America’s initiative to combat global hunger and poverty.

Led by USAID and drawing on the support and expertise of multiple U.S. government agencies and departments, Feed the Future brings partners together to help some of the world’s poorest countries harness the power of agriculture and entrepreneurship to jump-start their economies and create new opportunities.  For more information, visit www.feedthefuture.gov.

United States Agency for International Development (USAID) works to end extreme global poverty and enable resilient, democratic societies to realize their potential.  USAID invests in ideas that work to improve the lives of millions of men, women and children by: investing in agricultural productivity so countries can feed their people; combating maternal and child mortality and deadly diseases like HIV, malaria and tuberculosis; providing life-saving assistance in the wake of disaster; promoting democracy, human rights and good governance around the world; fostering private sector development and sustainable economic growth; helping communities adapt to a changing environment; and, elevating the role of women and girls throughout all our work.  For more information, visit www.usaid.gov.

The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) is the global leader in publicly-funded maize and wheat research and related farming systems. Headquartered near Mexico City, CIMMYT works with hundreds of partners throughout the developing world to sustainably increase the productivity of maize and wheat cropping systems, thus improving global food security and reducing poverty.  CIMMYT is a member of the CGIAR System and leads the CGIAR Research Programs on Maize and Wheat and the Excellence in Breeding Platform.  The Center receives support from national governments, foundations, development banks and other public and private agencies.  For more information, visit www.cimmyt.org.

The CGIAR Research Program on Maize (MAIZE) is an international collaboration led by the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) that seeks to mobilize global resources in maize R&D to achieve greater impact on maize-based farming systems in Africa, South Asia and Latin America.  MAIZE strategy draws upon learning and experiences obtained through decades of extensive partnerships with national and international research and development partners, including both public and private institutions, and farming communities.  For more information, visit www.maize.org