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FAO's message on the Fall Army Worm in Western Africa

 30th August 2017




These are some facts about the occurrence of the Fall Army Worm in West Africa. It was shared by Joyce Mulila Mitti, a Crop Production and Protection Officer of FAO. 


Fall Armyworm is a well-known pest in South America that has recently spread to Africa. It first appeared in West Africa in January 2016 and by early this year it attacked maize crops in southern Africa. It has now spread to East Africa and is expected to have an impact on their coming harvests. The worm is spreading rapidly across Africa and has the potential to spread beyond Africa to Asia.


Key facts


  • Fall Armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda) is a moth native to tropical and subtropical regions of the Americas
  • In the larval stage, the insect causes damage to crops
  • FAW has several generations per year and the moth can fly up to 100 km per night
  • FAW affects mainly maize crops, but also rice and sorghum as well as cotton and some vegetables
  • It has the potential to feed on more than 80 plant species
  • FAW may cause significant yield loss, if not well managed
  • FAW is a transboundary pest with a high potential of spreading due to bioecological and trade aspects
  • FAW was first detected in Central and Western Africa in early 2016 (Benin, Nigeria, Sao Tome and Principe, and Togo) and in late 2016 and 2017 in Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, and it is expected to go further
  • For the time being, FAW modality of introduction and its spread are only hypotheses.


Click this link to access the FAO's message on Fall Army Worm in West Africa