A mobile application has been launched to enable farmers, agricultural workers and other partners to the fight against fall armyworm in Africa.
The app by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), will report the level of infestation and map the spread of this destructive pest, as well as describe its natural enemies and the measures that are most effective in managing it.
The Fall Armyworm Monitoring and Early Warning System (FAMEWS) mobile app provides valuable insights into how the insect changes over time and space to improve knowledge of its behaviour on the continent.
The pest has already infected millions of hectares of maize in Africa, threatening the food security of more than 300 million people. These are mainly small-holder farmers who are already struggling to make ends meet and have enough food for their families.
By early this year, only 10 -mostly in the north of the continent- out of the 54 African states and territories had not reported infestations by the fast-spreading, cropmunching pest “The app will help us to build our collective knowledge of the Fall Armyworm in Africa, and connect all the dots – from how and where it spreads to what makes it weaker and less damaging,” said Mr Keith Cressman, FAO’s senior agricultural officer, who led the development of the app together with the UN agency’s partners.
“The app is useful on two fronts: For farmers and agricultural workers in the direct management of their crops to prevent further infestations and reduce damage; and for all actors involved in managing Fall Armyworm in Africa, by providing vital analysis on risks, spread and management,” said Mr Cressman.