The Dangerously Destructive Fall Army Worm (FAW)
Fall Army Worm (FAW), is a new emerging invasive pest that is wreaking havoc in Kenya and many other parts of the world, causing huge losses to farmers and impacting on food security. FAW or Spodoptera frugiperda, is a caterpillar native to tropical and sub-tropical regions of the Americas. FAW was first detected in West and Central Africa early in 2016 and quickly spread across Sub-Saharan Africa. It got to Kenya early 2017. In July 2018 it was confirmed in India and early this year it reached parts of China. It has even been picked up as a quarantine pest on plant material entering the EU (exporters be aware).
The larvae of the FAW feeds on many different crops, but particularly affects our maize, sorghum and sugar cane farmers, damaging the crop stand and substantially reducing yields. In the Americas, farmers have been dealing with FAW for centuries and much research has been done on this insect. We can learn a great deal from their previous knowledge.