More effective and sustainable responses to Fall armyworm: Outcomes from e-conference
This e-conference, hosted by the Sustianable Development Solutions Network – Sustianable Agriculture and Food Systems, on the Fall armyworm (FAW) aimed to give insight on lessons learned so far, effective strategies in reaching farmers, effectiveness of responses so far, long-term consequences of these responess and innovative ideas. FAW is an agricultural pest introduced to Africa in 2015 or 2016, since which it has spread across the entire continent and is responsible for maize yield losses ranging from 20-50%. This results in lost income and hunger for smallholder farmers, who often lack the knowledge or financial resources to recognize and respond to new pest species. Experts presented on the challenge of FAW and solutions, in particular how to move away from the overuse of broad-spectrum pesticides, which are often ineffective and potentially harmful to human and environmental health, towards more effective responses such as integrated pest management (IPM), push-pull, and early warning systems. A video playlist of the different sessions of the e-conference is available here. The sessions in the first day focussed on the identification and infestation of FAW. The second day, a FAW monitoring and early warning system was presented, as well as the role for pesticides within FAW IPM, and responses to FAW outbreaks amongst smallholder farmers. The third day focussed on recommended responses to FAW, where a guide on IPM for FAW (PDF) was presented, as well as a guide one sustainable management of FAW for smallholder farmers (PDF). On day four, the role of Bt technology in sustainable agriculure and FAW responses was discussed, whereafter work on applying push-pull principles to FAW in maize was shared. The fifth and final day included a presentation on breeding for restistance to FAW in Africa, whereafter the prospects for using biopesticsed for controlling FAW was shared. The e-conference was closed of with pitches for new technologies for FAW control.