Protecting crops, livelihoods, and food security through agronomic training and technology.
Last year, fall armyworm cost Africa’s maize-producing economies approximately $6.2 billion dollars a year if left unmanaged, according to CABI.
The invasive species, which is native to the Americas, first appeared in Africa in 2016. Capable of feeding on more than 80 plant species, the quick-moving pest threatens the agricultural productivity and food security of farmers and their families throughout the continent. Fortunately, the reality was less stark.
In Ghana and Tanzania, ACDI/VOCA has worked to combat fall armyworm by implementing two projects for the U.S. government’s Feed the Future initiative, funded by the United States Agency for International Development.
Fall armyworm arrived in Tanzania in 2017. One year later, the Feed the Future Tanzania Nafaka II Activity found that rice and maize yields had decreased by 22 and 27 percent, respectively. Project staff collaborated with the Tanzanian government and International Institute of Tropical Agriculture to train agricultural extension officers and village-based advisors in tracking and managing fall armyworm outbreaks. They then cascaded the training to 71,500 smallholder farmers.
In 2016, the Feed the Future Ghana Agricultural Development and Value Chain Enhancement (ADVANCE) II Project first discovered the pest making similar threats to maize and rice crops. As part of a Ghanaian government taskforce, the project provided guidance on the recommended timing, dosage, and plant stage for applying pesticides, which informed the national response framework.