Technical Note on Fall Armyworm (FAW) Threat in Pakistan
- Fall Armyworm Presence in Pakistan: In March 2018 FAO alerted Pakistan about the imminent threat of FAW in view of its spread to neighboring countries like India and China. Department of Plant Protection (DPP), Ministry of National Food Security and Research (MNSFR) that were monitoring the situation, reported in February 2019 that Fall Armyworm was not detected in Pakistan. DPP, however, highlighted the high risk of the spread in the country due to transboundary nature of the infestation. Since, DPP has officially declared the pest status of FAW as present on 29 September 2020 with few occurrences in corn growing belt of District Okara, District Sahiwal, and District Khanewal of Punjab Province and District Tando Allah Yar and District Mirpur Khas of Sindh Province.
- Awareness and Early Preparedness:
FAO is working closely with the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) and other partners to bring together relevant scientists and practitioners to share knowledge and experiences and help the countries in the region to counter the spread of FAW. The experience and lessons learned from the Americas, Africa, and Asia were shared at regional level and provided:
- Recommended Actions:
In Pakistan with confirmed presence of the pest, the following actions has been proposed/taken:
- Set up FAW Federal and Provincial Levels Taskforces (FFT/FPT), to give operational and technical guidance for effective surveillance and control measures.
- Carry out FAW presence monitoring and evaluation surveys, and use FAO FAW Monitoring and Early Warning System (FAMEWS), Introduce the FAO developed mobile application for training and support.
- Roll out trainings, to target agriculture extension, Pest Warning, and DPP field staff as well as small scale farmers and Pesticide Companies field staff in the affected districts.
- Estimated the needs of pheromones traps/light traps, in consultation with the provincial agriculture departments in the affected districts. FAO can support urgent procurement.
- Develop Pakistan Strategic Plan for FAW Control, control and management strategies developed by FAO based on its experience of FAW in Africa and Asian countries can be adapted to the country context. CABI is also a partner in such technical work.
In case of FAW infestation increase, it is recommended to have a communication campaign through media and other channels on the threat and risk exposure and to provide guidance to effectively manage the situation with no panic. A well-managed strategy can limit infestation damages below 10-20% of yield losses.