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Improving lives by solving problems in agriculture and the environment

Tackling fall armyworm to safeguard food security in Africa

The fall armyworm is devastating crops in Africa, and farmers are struggling to grow enough food to eat and sell.

“All along we have been lacking information to fight the armyworm.”

“My fellow [farmers] were crying because of this worm.”

“I have been struggling to kill [the armyworm] but without succeeding.”

More than 200 million people rely on maize as a staple crop in their diet in Africa, yet the presence of fall armyworm is threatening to destroy this vital food source with potential yield losses of up to 60%.

In 2017, CABI confirmed the spread of fall armyworm from the Americas to Africa. CABI has since confirmed that the pest is now a permanent agricultural challenge for over 30 African countries and could spread even further.

CABI is working with governments in Africa, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and other public and private sector organisations to fight back against the threat of fall armyworm.

Farmers are seeing the benefits:

“This worm has disturbed me for a very long time. Through the radio programme on Radio Kitara … I have learned a lot, which I am going to put into practice so that I achieve more.

We have seen how to use the chemicals and which ones will help us to kill that worm. As of now, I have tried and things are working so I am very thankful for the radio programme and sponsors of that programme.”
Deo Mutekanyiza, Farmer, Labondo village, Uganda.

In 2017, Plantwise and CABI’s new Action on Invasives programme harnessed the potential of mass communication channels to reach those affected by the invasion of the fall armyworm which has been destroying maize crops across the African continent. Radio programmes, posters, fact sheets and social media messages have been supporting farmers with information on preventing, monitoring for and managing this new pest.

More on fall armyworm


UK Department for International Development (DFID)

The Directorate General for International Cooperation (DGIS, Netherlands)

The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)

The European Commission Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development (DG DEVCO)

Irish Aid

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)

The Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR)

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of the People’s Republic of China