‘Growing alarm’ over Fall Armyworm advance, with cash crops ‘under attack’ across Asia

FAO/Lesotho/Lechoko Noko Armyworm eating on maize cob in Lesotho. (file)

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


The Fall Armyworm pest is continuing to sweep across the globe, having moved eastwards from their native Americas, onto Africa, before arriving in Asia only last summer, where they now threaten to cost farmers from India to Thailand, billions of dollars in lost production.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has convened a three-day meeting of international experts in Bangkok and officials from affected countries, who on Wednesday began discussing what to do about stopping the onward march of the crop-guzzling insects, and limiting the devastation they cause.

“We are here today – together – because we share a growing sense of alarm – but also to learn from each other, particularly from those countries who’ve already been responding to their own infestations, said Kundhavi Kadiresan, Assistant Director-General and FAO Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific.

“We need to work together because this is a pest that has no respect for international boundaries, threatens our food security, our economies, domestic and international trade, and of course the smallholder farmer who wakes up one morning to a cash crop under attack.”

Fall Armyworm is ‘here to stay’

Fall armyworm have been moving steadily east since 2016 and caused up to $3 billion-worth of damage to crops across Africa, according to reports. They lay eggs which develop fast into grubs, which can devastate crops such as maize, rice and sugarcane, overnight.

India began to suffer the effects of the flying invaders in July, and the insects have now reached Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, and China’s Yunnan province, said FAO.

In the case of Sri Lanka, there were reports that up to 40,000 hectares had been infested, damaging some 20 percent of its crops. China is the biggest maize producer in Asia, and second largest producer globally.

“When Fall Armyworm made landfall in India, its arrival did not come as a complete surprise, we were not caught unaware. And that’s a good start – indeed it was a good head start,” Mr. Kadiresan said.

The Plant Protection Commission for Asia and the Pacific began raising awareness about the threat early last year, sharing key information on the pest, its spread towards Asia, and how to manage it sustainably in case of infestation.

Slowing the spread

Once an infestation is confirmed, governments are initiating efforts to continue to raise awareness and monitor the presence and spread of FAW on maize and other crops.

FAO has been working with the relevant authorities to initiate awareness programmes that inform and train farmers on integrated pest management techniques. These include identifying natural enemies of the Fall Armyworm, enhancing natural biological controls and mechanical controls, such as crushing egg masses and employing the use of biopesticides.

The use of chemical pesticides needs to be very carefully considered, given that FAW larvae hide largely in the ring of leaves (whorl), and that chemical pesticides can have negative effects on environment and public health. This is taken into consideration at policy and field level. With these measures put in place, the negative effects of infestations can be sustainably managed and can help to maintain populations low enough to limit economic and livelihood damage.

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

EU imposes provisional anti-dumping tariffs on Chinese solar panels

Is there a cure for corruption in Greece?

A bad marriage can be as unhealthy as smoking and drinking

Tokyo Olympics postponed to 2021 over coronavirus concerns

Why growth is now a one way road for Eurozone

State aid: the Commission launches an in-depth investigation into the regulation mechanism for natural gas storage in France

What is behind the wide reach of  fake news about Coronavirus?

Scientists have created biodegradable microneedles to fight eye disease

UN Security Council hails ‘courage’ of Afghan voters

Draghi reveals how failing banks will be dealt, may cut interest rates soon

Humanitarian visas to avoid refugees’ deaths

No agreement in sight on EU budget

A Sting Exclusive: why the environment is important to your health, by UNEP’s Head for Europe

Female African coders ‘on the front-line of the battle’ to change gender power relations: UN chief

The EU will always have a stable partner in Montenegro, says President Đukanović

How our global battle against coronavirus could help us fight climate change

“Two Pack” approved: Is democracy chased away from Brussels?

2019 European Elections gets backing from professional footballers

Online platforms: improving transparency and fairness for EU businesses

School closures triple in Central and Western Africa as education comes under fire

Coronaviruses: the truth against the myths

Abuse of authority provisions adopted by the Senate raise concerns over Brazil’s capacity to ensure independence of prosecutors and judges in fighting corruption

Things are bad and getting worse for South Africa. Or are they?

Primary Healthcare: Back to the Basics

Why India can show us how to achieve growth with purpose

Long-term exposure to air pollution is like smoking a pack of cigarettes a day

India is investing more money in solar power than coal for first time

CLIMATE CHANGE FOCUS: Cows, coffee and sustainable farming

Thursday’s Daily Brief: Press Freedom Day, Tuna Day, cultural dialogue, #GlobalGoals awards, updates on Syria, Somalia, Mali

10 ways central banks are experimenting with blockchain

National parks give a $6 trillion boost to mental health worldwide

EU to take action against fake news and foreign electoral interference

Failure to open accession talks with Albania and North Macedonia is a mistake

Work Together to Build a New Type of International Relations and a Community with a Shared Future for Humanity

Here’s why leaders need to care about mental health

3 campaigns spreading the joy of reading to children at home

Half of Eurozone in deflation expecting salvation from monetary measures

Will COVID-19 lead to the global resurgence of other deadly diseases?

New UN rights report paints bleak picture in eastern DR Congo

Environmental Implementation Review: Commission helps Member States to better apply EU environment rules to protect citizens and enhance their quality of life

Mental health as a tool of survival at the Pandemic

COP24 addresses climate change displacement ahead of crunch migration meeting

The European Parliament fails to really restrict the rating agencies

If we don’t protect the ocean, humanitarian disaster awaits

Climate Change: A Healthcare Emergency

These 5 charts show our shifting behaviour around coronavirus

Fighting forest fires in Europe – how it works

More needs to be done to bridge the digital gender divide

Mergers: Commission opens in-depth investigation into proposed acquisition of DSME by HHIH

Boardroom warriors: how CEOs are becoming champions of change

UN chief urges Somalis not to be ‘deterred’ by latest deadly terror attack

Italy solves the enigma of growth with fiscal consolidation: The Banking Union

Sustainable fisheries: Commission takes stock of the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy and launches consultation on the fishing opportunities for 2021

Libya: Attack on foreign ministry, an attack on all Libyans, stresses UN envoy

London, Berlin, Paris to fight over EU budget

These are the world’s best countries to retire in, as of 2019

6 things to know about the General Assembly as UN heads into high level week

AIESEC @ European Business Summit 2015: The power of an individual and how we can awaken Europe’s Youth

Strict alcohol laws which cut intake more than 40 per cent in Russia, linked to historically high life expectancy

Bid to raise $5.5 billion for millions of Syrians and their host communities

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