New prize aims to help farmers in Africa tackle fall armyworm

Date published: April 9, 2018



Today Nesta launched the Fall Armyworm Tech Prize to help farmers in sub-Saharan Africa combat the invasive, crop-eating pest, fall armyworm. Nesta is running the prize on behalf of Feed the Future, in partnership with Land O’ Lakes International Development and the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research.

You may have never heard of fall armyworm, many people haven’t. But if you’re a farmer in sub-Saharan Africa, chances are you know what it is, and it’s bad news.

The pest

The fall armyworm is an incredibly invasive pest species that eats the crops that farmers depend on. Its capacity to rapidly spread and destroy crops is astounding:

The devastation

Fall armyworm has been reported and confirmed in 46 of Africa’s 54 countries. Since appearing on the African continent in 2016, it has already caused more than $13 billion in crop losses and could continue to cost $6 billion a year if not contained. Fall armyworm poses a significant threat to the food security of many people across Africa, particularly those in sub-saharan Africa.

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