The Fall Armyworm Monitoring and Early Warning System (FAMEWS) mobile app has recently been launched by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to combat Fall Armyworm in Africa. Through the application, farmers, agricultural workers, and other partners can “identify, report the level of infestation, and map the spread of this destructive insect, as well as describe its natural enemies and the measures that are most effective in managing it” (FAO, 2018).
“The app is useful on two fronts: for farmers and agricultural workers in the direct management of their crops to prevent further infestations and reduce damage; and for all the actors involved in managing Fall Armyworm in Africa, by providing vital analysis on risks, spread and management,” stated Keith Cressman, FAO Senior Agricultural Officer and leader of the team that developed the app.
Fall Armyworm (FAW), or Spodoptera frugiperda, is an insect native to the tropical and subtropical regions of the Americas. In Africa, it was first detected in Nigeria on January 2016 and has spread since then across the continent, leaving only 10 of the 54 African states as not having reported infestation as of early 2018. FAW feeds mainly on maize, Africa’s staple crop, but may also feed on other crops such as rice, sorghum, millet, sugarcane, vegetable crops, and cotton.
For more information, visit the FAO site.
Photo credit: FAO/Edward Ogolla