Rome - The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is to extend its global drive against one of the world’s most invasive plant pests – fall armyworm – which is still destroying billions of dollars’ worth of crops despite progress and a raft of measures to tackle it.
“Fall armyworm knows no boundaries and is continuing its rapid march across the globe," FAO Director-General QU Dongyu told the Steering Committee of the FAO Global Action for Fall Armyworm Control today as it endorsed a move to extend its timeline to the end of 2023 and broaden its scope.
As recently as 2016, only six African countries reported the pest, which devours dozens of different crops. Today, 78 countries in Africa, the Near East, Asia and the Pacific are reporting it. In Africa alone, fall armyworm is estimated to cause up to USD 9.4 billion in annual yield losses, Qu said.
The spread of fall armyworm is driving intensified pesticide use, putting human and environmental health at risk. In response, the FAO Global Action for Fall Armyworm Control is coordinating comprehensive measures across Africa, the Near East and Asia.