Fears for food security and the future of farming families, as Fall Armyworm spreads to Asia

FAO/Tamiru Legesse
A maize plant attacked by the fall armyworm.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.

An “invasive pest” that devours more than 80 different plant species, including many staple crops, could threaten the food security and livelihoods of millions of small-scale farmers in Asia, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warned on Tuesday.

The UN agency is offering its expertise to farmers and Governments in the region to help them manage Fall Armyworm. The insect was recently detected in India, marking the first time it has been found in Asia, and FAO fears it is “highly likely” to spread, with southeast Asia and south China most at risk.

“Fall Armyworm could have a devastating impact on Asia’s maize and rice producers – mostly small-scale farmers who depend on their crops for food and to make a living,” said Kundhavi Kadiresan, FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific.

She described the arrival of the pest, which has been moving steadily east across the globe, as “a threat that we cannot ignore.”

Small-scale farmers cultivate roughly 80 per cent of farmland in Asia, where more than 200 million hectares of maize and rice are cultivated each year, according to FAO. Meanwhile, over 90 per cent of the world’s rice is produced and consumed there.

The fear is that Fall Armyworm, which can fly 100 kilometres at night, could chomp through crops year-round, given the region’s “favourable” climate.

Though native to the Americas, Fall Armyworm has been on the march across Africa over the past two years, affecting millions of hectares of maize and sorghum.

It was first detected in Nigeria in January 2016.  Two years later, it had spread to practically all of sub-Saharan Africa, with the exception of 10 mostly northern countries and territories.

FAO took immediate steps to tackle Fall Armyworm in Africa and to support countries in mitigating the damage it caused. The agency has supported more than 30 projects on the continent to fight the pest, which can eat dozens of crop species, including maize, rice, vegetables, groundnuts and cotton.

Hans Dreyer, Director of FAO’s Plant Production and Protection Division, believes action taken in Africa can also benefit Asia.

“Much of what FAO has already done in sub-Saharan Africa to help farmers and governments better monitor and mitigate Fall Armyworm damage, can also be applied in Asia,” he said.

“This includes recommendations on pesticide management, monitoring and early warning, and a practical guide for farmers and government extension workers on how to best manage the pest.”

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Is academia losing its chance to capitalize on technology?

Close to 7,000 evacuated from Syrian towns after enduring nearly 3-year siege

The United Nations, 75 years young: Engaging youth social entrepreneurs to accelerate the SDGs

Consumer protection: Commission welcomes political agreement by Council on the Representative Actions Directive

‘Many challenges to overcome’ at UN, in fight against abuse: victims’ advocate

Impressive African health gains at risk from changing trends: WHO report

The European Sting @ Mobile World Congress 2014, Creating What’s Next for the World. Can EU Policy follow?

Silicon Valley can do more to achieve the #GlobalGoals

Is it too soon to hope for a tobacco free Romania?

UN rights chief ‘strongly condemns’ attack on Indian security forces in Kashmir

Nearly two-thirds of children lack access to welfare safety net, risking ‘vicious cycle of poverty’

Commission proposes a governance framework for the Budgetary Instrument for Convergence and Competitiveness

UN News Daily #UNGA Guide: Mandela Peace Summit, Global Goals, Youth and Yemen

Scores of Rohingya refugee shelters in Bangladesh destroyed by flooding

UN Human Rights chief urges Venezuela to halt grave rights violations

An expert in the South China Sea issue on an exclusive interview at the European Sting

InvestEU Fund: boost for sustainable, innovative and social investment

Teachers launch a free ebook to help children cope with the pandemic

Immigration crisis at its very worst: EU to outsource rescue business to North Africa?

UN chief condemns terror attack in Kismayo, Somalia

When did globalization begin? The answer might surprise you

A reflection of health inequity in recent epidemics

Here’s how India can soar in the Fourth Industrial Revolution

It’s just electronic cigarette, don’t worry?

Technology is delivering better access to financial services. Here’s how

Increasingly under attack, women human rights defenders need better back up

Hundreds of wounded Gaza protesters risk limb amputation without immediate help, warns top UN official

Half of all mental illness begins by the age of 14

iSting: a reader’s thoughts on the UN Environment Assembly 2017

The psychology of pandemics

Stronger partnerships with post-conflict countries needed to ensure ‘path towards durable peace’: UN chief

Millennials aren’t voting – but these young leaders have a plan to change that

GSMA Mobile 360 Series – Latin America, in association with The European Sting

We can meet the SDGs using the wisdom of crowds. Here’s how

First 17 “European Universities” selected: a major step towards building a European Education Area

‘We can’t stop COVID-19 without protecting health workers’: WHO chief

Environmental labelling, information and management schemes are central to the circular economy

Deutsche Bank again in the middle of the US-EU economic skirmishes

Lebanon: UN rights office calls for de-escalation of protest violence

8th Euronest Assembly: the future of relations with Eastern partners

Traditional finance is failing millennials. Here’s how investing needs to change

Medschool 4.0: how to succeed in the smart revolution of healthcare

‘Comprehensively include migrants’ or sustainable development won’t happen, warns General Assembly President

This is what chief economists think about the global economy right now

The European Parliament wants to stay in one place

UN political chief calls for dialogue to ease tensions in Venezuela; Security Council divided over path to end crisis

Green Deal: How MEPs wish to channel EU investment to sustainable activities

Open, inclusive and diverse cities are better for business and economic growth

TTIP’s 11th round starts in Miami but EU-US businesses see no sunny side

WEF Davos 2016 LIVE: “If we do not do properly the Paris agreement, then all 16 remaining goals will be undermined”, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon cautions from Davos

We must learn and change after Haiti sexual abuse scandal -Oxfam chief

COVID-19: EU working on all fronts, €232 million for global efforts to tackle outbreak

Conflicting statistics and bad banks haunt the Eurozone

International Literacy Day: What you need to know about youth literacy

How each country’s share of global CO2 emissions changes over time

France and Germany can’t reach consensus regarding EU’s top jobs

How to tap the talents of refugees – one student at a time

The scary EU elections result and the delayed Council’s repentance

OECD tells Eurozone to prepare its banks for a tsunami coming from developing countries

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s