In Rwanda, apart from conventional fall armyworm control and management interventions, large scale pesticides are being applied by farmers to manage this pest. Therefore, an integrated pest management (IPM) system, that includes biorational management methods that have already been observed to have an effect on management of the pest, has to be promoted.
It is in this regard that on 28th November 2022, Rwanda Agriculture and Animal Resources Development Board (RAB) in collaboration with International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) through the project entitled “Reinforcing and Expanding the Community-Based Fall Armyworm ,Spodoptera frugiperda (Smith) Monitoring, Forecasting for Early Warning and Timely Management to Protect Food Security and Improve Livelihoods of Vulnerable Communities - CBFAMFEW II” , organized a training of Trainers (ToT) for crop protection and extension staff to increase their knowledge and skills in managing the fall armyworm by using biological control methods.
The training aimed to create an awareness and strengthen the capacity of extension agents/government staff/private sector involved in the crop protection/maize value chain to be more able to support farmers to effectively contain and manage the fall armyworm by using biological control agents. The training focused on fall armyworm, organizational management strategies of fall armyworm, especially by focusing on biological control management options that can be used to maintain the population of fall armyworm to below economic injury levels through an IPM approach.
Officiating the training, Mr. Jean Claude Izamuhaye, Head of Crop Innovation & Tech Transfer Department at RAB, said that increased skills and knowledge in fall army warm bio-control is aligned with efforts to maintain the population of fall armyworm to below economic injury levels.
Fall Armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda) is an insect pest that feeds on more than 80 crop species, causing damage to economically important cultivated cereals such as maize, rice, sorghum, and also to legumes as well as vegetable crops and cotton. It is native to tropical and subtropical regions of the Americas, with the adult moth able to move over 100 km per night. It lays its eggs on plants, from which larvae hatch and begin feeding. This pest has the potential to cause serious damage and significant yield losses if not properly managed.
Fall armyworm was first detected in Central and Western Africa in early 2016 (Sao Tome and Principe, Nigeria, Benin and Togo) and late in 2016 and 2017 in Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Rwanda.