Fall Armyworm Spodoptera frugiperda (Smith)

5367922

The fall armyworm can colonize over 80 different plant species including many grasses, and crops such as alfalfa, soybean, sorghum, and corn.  Fall armyworm is more likely to be an economic pest in corn and vegetable crops. Fall armyworms are similar in size and shape to other moths in the cutworm family.  They are grayish in color with a wingspan of about 1.5 inches.
Upon arrival to a new field, the female moth deposits egg masses on green plants including important crop hosts.  The eggs hatch about five to seven days after oviposition and the small larvae then begin to feed on plants near the ground or in protected areas such as the whorl of corn plants.  They usually go unnoticed until they are approximately an inch long.  The larva goes through six instars (about 15 to 18 days) before burrowing one to three inches into the soil to pupate.  Adults emerge about one to five weeks after pupation depending on soil temperature.

Adult stage: Adult moths are 20 to 25mm long with a wingspan of 30 to 40mm. Forewings are shaded grey to brown, often mottled with a conspicuous white spot on the extreme tip. Hindwings are silvery white with a narrow dark border. Adults are nocturnal and most active during warm, humid evenings. Females lay eggs in clusters of fifty to a few hundred and can lay up to 2000 eggs in a lifetime. The average adult lifespan is estimated to be 10 days.

Egg stage: Eggs are white, pinkish or light green in color and spherical in shape. Clusters of eggs are frequently covered in moth scales or bristles giving a fuzzy appearance. Eggs are usually laid on the underside of leaves.

Larval stage: Larvae generally emerge simultaneously 3 to 5 days following oviposition and migrate to the whorl. Mortality rate following emergence is extremely high due to climatic factors, predators, and parasites. There are six larval instar stages. In the 2nd and 3rd instar stages larvae are often cannibalistic, resulting in only one larva in the whorl. Mature larvae are 30 to 40mm in length and vary in color from light tan to green to black. Larvae are characterized by several subdorsal and lateral stripes running along the body. Dark, elevated spots (tubercles) bearing spines occur dorsally along the body. Larvae of fall armyworm can be distinguished from larvae of armyworm and corn ear worm by a distinct white inverted Y-shaped mark on the front of the head. They have four large spots on the upper surface of the last segment. Larvae mature in 14 to 21 days after which they drop to the ground to pupate.

Pupal stage: Pupation occurs a few centimeters (2 to 8cm) below the soil surface. Cocoons are generally oval and 20 to 30mm in length. Pupae are reddish brown and measure 13 to 17mm in length. Pupation usually takes 9 to 13 days, following which adults emerge.

  • In optimum conditions the entire lifecycle can be completed in 30 days. Maize crops can normally support two generations.
  • Optimum temperature for larval development is 28۫ C, although the egg stage and pupal stage require slightly lower temperatures.
  • Protracted periods of extreme cold will result in death of most growth stages. The fall armyworm has no diapause mechanism and therefore is only able to overwinter in mild climates and recolonize in cooler climates in the summeConfirmation

Host range

The fall armyworm has a wide range of hosts including maize, rice, sorghum, sugarcane, cotton, alfalfa, peanuts, tobacco, and soybean, in addition to various wild grasses. However, gramineous plants are preferred.

  • Mechanism of damage:Damage is caused by loss of photosynthetic area due to foliar feeding, structural damage due to feeding in the whorl, lodging due to cut stems, and direct damage to grains due to larvae feeding.
  • When damage is important:Severe infestations are uncommon and most plants recover from partial foliar feeding. Under severe infestation complete defoliation of the maize plant is possible. Damage is most severe when worms cause direct damage to the ear. Under severe infestation larvae are frequently observed migrating in large numbers to new fields similar to the true armyworm. Late planted maize and advanced growth stages are more vulnerable to fall armyworm damage.
  • Economic damage:Under severe infestation yield loss ranging from 25 to 50% has been documented.

Monitoring

  • Regularly monitor leaves and whorls for presence of larvae and signs of crop damage.
  • Look for masses of larvae migrating between fields.
  • Pheromone traps can be used to determine incidence of adult moths and disrupt mating during the whorl stages.

Cultural control

  • Plant early to avoid periods of heavy infestation later in the season.
  • Plant early maturing varieties.
  • Rotate maize with a non-host.
  • Reduced tillage methods often result in an increase of natural predators and parasitoids. However, in areas where fall armyworm infestation is high, disking or plowing can effectively reduce the survival rate of pupae in the soil.

Biological control

  • Numerous parasitic wasps, natural predators, and pathogens help to control the population of fall armyworms.
  • The egg parasitoidTelenomus remus is frequently introduced to effectively control fall armyworm and other Spodoptera 

Insecticides

  • Insecticide application should be considered when eggs are present on 5% of seedlings or when 25% of plants show signs of feeding damage. In order to be effective, insecticide application should commence before larvae burrow into the whorls or ears and insecticide spray should penetrate the crop canopy.
  • Insecticides recommended for control ofSpodoptera species include various pyrethroids, carbamates and organophosphates. However, insecticide resistance has been widely reported.

East African Community Appeals International Community To Help Drought-hit Somalia

NAIROBI, Sept 12 (BERNAMA-NNN-Xinhua) — East Africa’s bloc has appealed to the international community to help Somalia where more than one million people face food shortages.

The regional bloc, Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), also hailed the measures the Somali government has undertaken to mitigate the devastating effects of the current drought in the country.

“IGAD hereby places an appeal to the international community to promptly assist the Somali government in its effort to overcome the challenges of drought before it becomes famine,” said the statement received in Nairobi.

The appeal comes after the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has warned of worsening food security situation in Somalia in the next several months as drought looms in the Horn of Africa nation.

Latest assessment findings by the Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit and the Famine Early Warning Systems Network reflect a significant decline of food providing, owing to a lethal mix of drought, surging food prices and conflict.

Over one million people in Somalia face food insecurity today, up by 20 percent from 857,000 six months ago, bringing the total number of people in need of humanitarian assistance or livelihood support to over 3 million.

According to the UN, after gradual rebuilding of livelihoods since the 2011 famine that cost over 250,000 lives in excess mortality, fragile gains are now being eroded and malnutrition rates are again on the rise.

The regional bloc said the Somali government has not only established a Special Committee to tackle the drought and its effects, but also follows and addresses the needs of those who are affected as much as its capacity allows.

The Somalia government has declared the urgency of making food, water, medication and shelter available to the victims of the current drought, which has occurred within a very short span of time since the last devastating drought of 2011.

It has also allocated 500,000 U.S. dollars to the victims to reach intended recipients as soon as possible in the form of the items mentioned above.

“IGAD would like to add its voice to that of the government of Somalia in stressing the need for international assistance in the form not only of food, water and medication, but also vehicles and other technical support that would assist in moving the supplies to where they are most needed,” the statement said.

Olympics Hunger Summit To Unite World Leaders, Athletes To Tackle Issue

 

 

 

 

 

There’s one final Olympics event few may know about.

 

On Sunday, British Prime Minister David Cameron will host a hunger summit at 10 Downing Street with world leaders focused on tackling childhood hunger.

“We are thinking about the next medal, but there are millions of children around the world thinking, ‘Am I going to get my next meal?'” Cameron told ITV1’s Daybreak.

Gold medalist Mo Farah, who was born in Somalia, will also attend. And athletes such as David Beckham, a Unicef ambassador, have already been to Downing Street to campaign about hunger issues.

Earlier this year, nonprofit Save the Children urged Cameron to hold a “world hunger summit” during the London Olympics following a report in which the charity revealed the high rates of child malnutrition around the world.

The charity cited rising food prices and a lack of global investment in tackling malnutrition as roadblocks to fighting the issue.

 

“Every hour of every day, 300 children die because of malnutrition, often simply because they don’t have access to the basic, nutritious foods that we take for granted in rich countries,” Justin Forsyth, the chief executive of Save the Children, told the Press Association. “By acting on hunger and malnutrition, world leaders have the chance to change this for millions of children across the world.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Following Cameron’s May announcement of the summit, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation also released a statement calling upon the forthcoming summit to focus on investments in agriculture:

 

 

“We hope this event will build on the momentum generated by President Barack Obama’s increased commitment to nutrition and smallholder farmer productivity announced at the G8 last week. By making long-term investments in agriculture, the private sector, governments, and the wider development community can help reduce hunger and poverty, and build self-sufficiency for millions of poor farming families.”

With numerous world leaders, charities and athletes present, Cameron has said it’s necessary to use the Olympics to spotlight hunger issues.

Andrew Mitchell, the International Development Secretarytold BBC Radio 4’s Today program that Britain — along with Brazil, the 2016 Olympics host city, see a long-term role for the games to fight child hunger.

 

“It’s a chance for Britain, together with the next hosts of the Olympics –- the Brazilians -– to put a real flag in the sand about the importance of tackling malnutrition in the future.”

read from the source

 

Africa: Developing Countries Urged to Invest in Food Security

The role of small scale farmers in ensuring food security has been highlighted as one of strategies that developing countries need to prevent famines and prevent food crises.

In a statement, David Nabarro, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative on Food Security and Nutrition, said governments, particularly in Africa need to prioritise food security strategies and invest in their agricultural sectors to reduce poverty.

He said one of the main challenges the world faces today is ensuring that it can meet the demand for food for nine billion people by 2050.

To tackle this challenge, he said, countries should focus on making sure that they have the necessary measures in place to be able to provide food for their population. However, this has become more complex in recent years due to volatile food prices.

During 2007 and 2008, rises in food prices triggered a crisis which saw riots in more than 35 countries as prices soared by as much as 30 to 50 per cent and 700 million people suffered from hunger.

Since then, prices have remained inconsistent due to uncertainty in the world economy as well as changes in demand and shortage of supplies.

Mr. Nabarro, who coordinates the High-Level Task Force on the Global Food Security Crisis, said one of the UN’s priorities was to continue to sustain efforts in the 22 countries that experience recurring food crises, such as Somalia, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, and parts of Uganda and northern Tanzania.

He also stated that one the main lessons learned by the international community in the past years was that repeated bursts of humanitarian aid were not the answer to help these countries in the long term.

Instead, funding for programmes that increase their resilience and investing in small farmers, who produce most of the food in Africa, proved to be a better strategy.

Long-term investment in Ethiopia meant it had been successful in providing a safety net to its citizens, while in Kenya poor infrastructure had hindered the ability to move food from plentiful to drought-hit areas, he noted.

read from the source

East Africa Food Security Brief – January 2012

Food security outlook points to deepening food insecurity in some areas even as OctoberDecember rains result in marked improvement in Crisis areas

Current food security conditions and expected outcomes during the Outlook period (through March 2012) are mixed across the East Africa region. Several areas previously at Crisis levels of food insecurity (IPC Phase 3) have shown considerable improvement, namely parts of Somalia, Ethiopia, and Kenya, following favorable and mostly above normal OctoberDecember rains, coupled with a major humanitarian response. Notwithstanding these improvements, the outlook in the eastern Horn is measured, due to the underlying fragility of livelihoods, which have been weakened by a succession of poor seasons and multiple shocks, principally drought, conflict, livestock disease, above-normal food and non-food prices, and more recently, floods. Furthermore, most of the improvements in food security are supported by humanitarian response rather than substantial recovery in productive capacities or enhanced resilience of livelihoods. Blue Nile and South Kordofan states in Sudan, and Jonglei State and border areas of South Sudan, are now emerging as the areas of greatest concern, in addition to parts of southern Somalia. Food insecurity in Sudan and South Sudan is driven by the poor recent agricultural season, and intense conflict and heavy fighting in some areas, as well as restrictions on trade and humanitarian access.

Food security has improved in parts of Kenya, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Uganda, and Somalia, and the prognosis for the first quarter of 2012 is generally favorable. However, reports by FAO suggest that food security in Djibouti is anticipated to decline through March particularly for pastoralists, the urban poor, and about 19,000 Somali and Yemeni refugees in camps. An estimated 210,000 people will face Stressed levels (IPC Phase 2), while localized households in the north will face Crisis levels. In western Ethiopia, food security is projected to improve to No Acute Food Insecurity (IPC Phase 1) in parts of the cropping highlands after favorable October to December rains. However, Belg cropping areas in North Wollo and northeastern parts of Afar experienced poor rains and poor households will likely remain in Crisis through March 2012. Households in the southern and southeastern pastoral and agropastoral areas of Ethiopia bordering Kenya, South Sudan and Somalia are expected to be in Crisis through March 2012, including about 143,000 Somali refugees at Dollo Ado camp and more than 30,000 Sudanese refugees in Benishangul-Gumuz region in western Ethiopia. Insecurity and suspected polio cases are cause for serious concern in Dollo Ado, while water shortages are increasing in Oromiya and Somali regions.

read from the source

Africa Union raises US$ 50 million to tackle famine in Horn of Africa region

Addis-Ababa, Ethiopia (PANA) – Nearly US$ 50 million was raised by the African Union (AU) to assist the countries in the Horn of Africa, threatened by famine, the AU Commissioner for the rural economy and agriculture, Mrs. Rhoda Peace Tumusiime, announced Thursday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

“This is from voluntary contributions by member countries. This should be added to the financial aids granted by several countries and which have already been disbursed to needy populations,” she declared at a news conference ahead of the AU summit, scheduled for the Ethiopian capital this weekend.

The AU Commissioner pleaded for the search for a definitive solution to food problems through the establishment of policies which would guarantee further financial resources to the agricultural sector.

“Nearly 30 countries have already put in place agriculture development programmes decided by the African Union in Maputo. This effort must be kept up as there are no other means of attaining food security goals on the continent,” Mrs. Tumusiime said.

Several million people are threatened by famine in the Horn of Africa, mainly in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya where huge refugee camps have been opened

read from the source

To create food security in Africa, focus on the value chain

Food security in Africa

The tragic famine in Somalia has once again focused concern on food security in Africa.  There are many facets to this issue, and many solutions. None is easy.  But, as the suffering in Somalia and other parts of the continent attest, all are necessary. Swaziland, a country about the size of New Jersey located in Southern Africa, has not been immune to food insecurity. Ours is an economy with a large agricultural sector, and thus highly dependent upon both natural forces and human innovation to sustain and increase our income and wealth. With the assistance of US and other investors, and well-developed trade links with South Africa and other neighboring countries, Swaziland has embarked on a systematic effort to add more value to our agricultural output. This will ensure food security for our citizens, provide avenues to increase incomes in a steady and consistent manner and lay the groundwork for the development of additional manufacturing and service sectors.

I believe this “value chain” approach holds much promise for the entire African continent, as well as agriculturally based economies in other areas of the world.  The American public and private sectors can help. An example of a successful project is a commercial community garden initiative funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by International Relief & Development (IRD), a private global development organization. Working with Swaziland’s Ministry of Agriculture, National Agricultural Marketing Board, farming associations and other stakeholders, IRD has helped establish 39 commercial community gardens.   The produce grown and harvested in these gardens—in the US, they would be called small farms—is sold in local and foreign markets.  The key to the gardens’ success is data gathering and analysis that enables farmers to tailor output to specific markets.   It’s not enough to simply “grow enough food.”  The goal is to grow enough food and sell it in a way that increases the incomes of farmers and their communities.   This means understanding the varying levels of demand in local and foreign markets. It means learning about alternative methods to control pests and unwanted plants.  It means establishing relationships with distributors, marketing firms, processors and other market participants.

Of course, none of this can be achieved without new levels of education, coordination and organization.  IRD is assisting in that effort, implementing models that have proven successful in Gambia, Indonesia and other countries.  This qualitative community change is where the value chain approach to food security pays its largest long-term dividends. Farming communities that master the value chain and maximize their opportunities within it develop the skills to participate at higher levels of that chain.  Today’s farmer becomes tomorrow’s distributor or marketer, earning the higher incomes that accompany these higher-productivity activities. As important, these higher-productivity skills are transferable to other sectors of the economy, such as manufacturing and services. This drives the development of new businesses and entirely new industries.

While there is a role for relief in addressing food insecurity, the only real solutions center on development. Through USAID, American citizens have made a small investment in the development of my country’s agricultural sector. US-funded programs have already paid dividends to dozens of communities who have access to more secure and healthier food and earn higher incomes to invest in their futures. Over time, these communities will seek additional capital and consumer goods, and will look to US and other producers to provide them. We are grateful for America’s generosity and the expertise of those in your public and private sectors who are helping us develop a higher level of self-sufficiency.   We will continue to partner with you to build a more prosperous, stable and free Africa.