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June 22nd, 2018 / CIMMYT

The fall armyworm could cause maize yield losses projected at $2.5 to $6.2 billion a year. Experts estimate that Africa will need an investment of at least $150 to $200 million annually for research and pest management to mitigate related damage.

The voracious fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda) has marched across Africa in the last two years, causing millions of dollars in damage to maize and other crops and threatening the food security and livelihoods of smallholders and their families in nearly 40 African countries.

A highly aggressive and invasive insect pest, fall armyworm has ravaged crops in the Americas for decades and is now a major threat throughout Africa. The pest prefers maize, a staple food for more than 200 million people in the continent.

The CGIAR Research Program on Maize (MAIZE), led by the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) has been at the forefront of the fight against the pest, through a multi-institutional initiative led by B.M. Prasanna, director of CIMMYT’s global maize program and MAIZE. Read more