September 20, 2018
The emergence and rapid spread of the Fall Armyworm in Africa (FAW) threatens the food and income security of millions of smallholder farmers.
That’s why USUN Rome supported University of Maryland Professor Emeritus and Integrated Pest Management Consultant, Dr. Galen P. Dively’s travel to Africa, where he observed the situation and met with farmers, academics, and experts on the ground. After visits in Malawi and Ghana, he spoke at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Rome, Italy to share his expertise and ideas for how innovative management practices can help bring this pest under control in Africa.
To a wide audience including Food and Agriculture Organization leaders, Permanent Representatives, and technical experts, Dr. Dively examined how bio-technologies can and have helped stem Fall Armyworm around the world. He related how some of these technologies and other practices can be used in Africa, where the presence of Fall Armyworm is now confirmed in over 30 countries and is likely to become endemic in many.
The Fall Armyworm’s destruction of maize, a staple food for over 300 million African smallholder farm families, poses a threat to food security, nutrition and livelihoods. As noted by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Fall Armyworm keeps spreading to larger areas within countries in sub-Saharan Africa and the pest could spread to Northern Africa, Southern Europe and the Near East. Given the threat, a successful response requires coordinated action from the broadest possible community.
In order to help smallholder farmers effectively control the pest without damaging human and animal health and the environment, Dr. Dively recommended particular management practices, like early and coordinated planting and harvesting. He also highlighted the planting of biotech corn, which has demonstrated a very high incidence of Fall Armyworm control without any evidence of resistance in the U.S. He suggested that a lack of education at the consumer level about safe, effective bio-technologies is among the challenges to using them to control the pest across Africa.
Learn more about Fall Armyworm:
Dr. Dively’s PowerPoint: “Management of Fall Armyworm, with emphasis on BT Transgenic Technology”
Dr. Dively’s Video: “The Facts and Knowledge of BT Sweet Corn”