Africa south of the Sahara continues to struggle against an invasion of Fall Armyworm. Since its first appearance in Nigeria in early 2016, the pest has spread to 28 countries. Driving the rapid spread of the pest is the region’s climate – fall armyworm tends to thrive in areas where drought is followed by heavy rains, a pattern that has intensified in recent years in many areas of Africa south of the Sahara.
South and East Africa continue to grapple with an invasion of fall armyworm (FAW) invasion. This pest, never seen on the continent until 2016, is native to the US, and it remains unclear how it was first introduced to Africa. Prolonged dry spells and heavy rains are being blamed for the prevalence of the pest, as these conditions seem to provide a thriving breeding ground.
An emergency meeting this week in Harare, Zimbabwe will focus on the spread of the fall armyworm caterpillar throughout much of southern Africa. Experts from 13 countries will join FAO, the Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International (CABI), the Southern African Development Committee (SADC), and the International Red Locust Control Organization for Central and Southern Africa (IRLCO-CSA) to discuss how the pest can be stopped in an environmentally sustainable way.