Asia Regional Fall Armyworm Pest Management Workshop

Description

Background and Rationale

Fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda; FAW) emerged as a major threat to food security in India and Bangladesh and is expected to continue its spread to other Asian countries -- Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand and China.  FAW is particularly damaging to maize, one of the main food security and livelihood crops for several million people in the region, as well as the growing poultry and fish feeds subsector. The pest, first observed in 2018 in southern India, is forecasted to continue spreading in the next few cropping seasons.

There is an urgent need to generate awareness and empower the farming communities with knowledge of FAW, scouting for the pest as well as its natural enemies, understanding the right stages of pest control, and implementing sustainable agro-ecological management of the pest. The experiences of the US and Brazil in tackling the FAW and adopting these practices/protocols to the Asian agro-ecologies and cropping systems landscapes provide excellent learning opportunities.  At the same time, it is important to introduce, validate and deploy “best-bet” technological interventions/management practices for effective control of FAW in Asia, especially for the benefit of low-resource farming communities.

USAID and CIMMYT, in partnership with national and international research and development partners, developed a FAW Pest Management Field Manual.  This Guide was put together by 60 scientists across the interagency, drawing on university and other researcher expertise from organizations such as IITA, CABI, ICIPE, USDA-ARS, US universities, EMBRAPA-Brazil, institutes researching on integrated pest management (IPM) in Germany, and Wageningen University in the Netherlands.  The Field Manual covers best management practices and protocols for: 1) FAW scouting, monitoring and surveillance; 2) Biocontrol; 3) Pesticides, and pesticide risk management; 4) Host plant resistance (including conventional and transgenic); and 5) Sustainable agro-ecological management. The Manual focuses particularly on “best-bet” practices/key mitigation options for low-resource farmers with access to 2-5 hectares each (small farms), including low-cost and environmentally-safer pesticides and other off-the-shelf technologies.

It is important to strengthen the capacity of Asia-based institutions in IPM of FAW, especially in identifying and scaling up low-cost, effective and environmentally sustainable technologies, including classical biological control, host plant resistance (conventional- and transgenic-based), and pesticides (biopesticides and environmentally-safer pesticides).  There is also an urgent need to develop and disseminate appropriate, practical, and actionable guidance to the farming communities on how to safely and effectively manage FAW. In the absence of such information, there is the danger of excessive use of inappropriate and/or dangerous pesticides.

In light of the above, USAID, ICRISAT, and CIMMYT, in partnership with national and international research and development partners, including ICAR and CABI, will organize a 2.5-day Asia Regional Fall Armyworm Pest Management Conference in Hyderabad, India, during May 1-3.  We are inviting 12-15 experts with long-standing experience on integrated pest management as resource persons to the Workshop, representing USAID, CIMMYT, ICAR, CABI, and other Asia-based institutions.

Target Participants:

For Feed the Future target counties (Bangladesh and Nepal, plus India, as host country), lead technical staff from:

  • national agricultural research institutions;

  • national plant protection office; as well as

  • FTF implementing partners, where relevant;

  • the FTF Coordinator, where available, as team leader; and

  • representatives from key institutional partners capable of implementing a FAW response at scale  – no more than 10 total.

For Feed the Future aligned countries (Myanmar, Cambodia, Pakistan, plus Thailand) and non-Feed the Future countries (Sri Lanka, Vietnam and southern China), lead technical staff from:

  • national agricultural research institutions;

  • national plant protection office; as well as

  • representatives from key institutional partners capable of implementing a FAW response at scale – no more than 6 total.

We will also invite Afghanistan and Tajikistan, where the FAW will act as a seasonal pest much like it does across the Midwestern farmbelt of the United States, as well as Madagascar, to send 1-2 persons.  

Potential to scale:

Through complementary initiatives, stakeholder workshops may be organized for training of trainers from ministries of agriculture, plant protection organizations, local research institutions, private sector actors, and implementers of food security programs, including donors and NGOs, for wider dissemination of the FAW Pest Management Field Manual and best practices/interventions.

Objectives

The Goal is to focus on exchanging evidence-based best management practices and developing protocols for maize and other major crops on: 1) FAW scouting, monitoring and surveillance; 2) biocontrol; 3) pesticides, and pesticide risk management; 4) host plant resistance; and 5) sustainable agro-ecological management.  

The objectives of the Workshop are to create a regional platform for sustained collaboration, adaptation and learning of FAW by 1) linking the national, regional and global learning community; 2) catalyzing adoption of a common protocol for FAW management; and 3) developing country-specific priorities and protocols for FAW management over the next six months to which all regional technical institutions can align their activities.

The Workshop will bring together representatives from the public and private sectors, academia, NGOs, farmer organizations, and thought leaders to guide us on the way forward.  We plan to limit the Workshop to 70 participants (plus 12-15 resource persons) to maintain an evidence and exchange format, including field observations on standing crops.