The Life Cycle of Fall Armyworm

Fall armyworm life cycleThe Fall armyworm, Spodoptera frugiperda, is a major invasive pest in Africa. It has a voracious appetite and feeds on more than 80 plant species, including maize, rice, sorghum and sugarcane. Another feature which makes it an incredibly successful invasive species is its ability to spread and reproduce quickly. CABI have developed a poster to show the life cycle of the Fall armyworm, which includes egg, 6 growth stages of caterpillar development (instars), pupa and adult moth. Click here to view the full poster, or read about the life cycle below.  Continue reading

Citrus greening detected in Trinidad

Fruit affected by Huanglongbing
Fruit affected by Huanglongbing (USDA)

Huanglongbing (HLB), also known as Citrus greening, has been confirmed in Trinidad for the first time. The disease, which was detected on leaves from a lime tree in the north of the island, can cause devastating yield loss for Citrus growers and is regarded as one of the most important threats to global commercial and sustainable citrus production.  Continue reading

CABI leads rapid identification of Fall Armyworm

Fall Armyworm larvae seen in Ghana (J. Crozier, CABI)

Identifying armyworms usually involves taking the larvae that have caused the damage, waiting for them to develop in to adults and then studying the body and markings of these adults to identify the species collected. This process causes delays to identification, and could therefore delay action for what are some of the most ravaging crop pests in the world. However, scientists from CABI and Ghana’s Plant Protection and Regulatory Services Directorate have been able to speed up identification using molecular techniques to confirm the identity of fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda) from the larvae alone.

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CPM-12 adopts a record number of new tools for protecting plants from pest spread

Ceratitis capitata (Mediterranean fruit fly); adult
The new standards cover topics such as cold treatments for Mediterranean fruit fly on citrus. Photo ©Daniel Feliciano – CC BY-SA 3.0

This week we’ve been reporting from the 12th session of the Commission on Phytosanitary Measures, which successfully drew to a close, having produced concrete tools to support plant protection through the adoption of 25 International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPMs). Under the World Trade Organization’s Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS Agreement), the IPPC is recognized as the international standard setting body for plant health, and WTO members are encouraged to use these ISPMs to address phytosanitary concerns. When members apply these standards for plant protection, they are likely to be safe from legal challenge through a WTO dispute. A record number of ISPMs were submitted for consideration and adopted during the CPM, attesting to the continued demand for the development of standards.

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The benefits and challenges of protecting plants from pest spread – some vivid examples from CPM-12

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Melanie Bateman presenting on the mutli-sectoral FORIS project which aims to protect forests from Invasive Alien Species in SE Asia. Photo: Stephanie Dubon

The 12th session of the Commission on Phytosanitary Measures (CPM) featured a full day of talks covering a range of topics related to plant health. The day began with a session on the benefits (and also the challenges) of implementing the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) and the International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPMs).

A talk given by the Executive Director of the Mexican Hass Avocado Importers Association, Ron Campbell, compellingly documented the monetary and employment benefits of the export of Hass avocados for both the exporting country, Mexico, and the importing country, the USA. This case study detailed how implementing just under 20 key ISPMs had enabled avocado exporters from the Mexican state of Michoacán to gain access to US markets, first in the northern most states of the US and over time to the whole country. While implementation of these standards involved many steps and required significant effort, the benefits to both Mexico and the USA were thousands of jobs across the supply chain and billions of dollars in returns.

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Landmark Phytosanitary meeting CPM-12 kicks off in Incheon, Republic of Korea

The 12th Session of the Commission on Phytosanitary Measures, Republic of Korea
The 12th Session of the Commission on Phytosanitary Measures, Republic of Korea (Photo: CABI)

The 12th Session of the Commission on Phytosanitary Measures opened today in Incheon, Republic of Korea. This is significant as it is the first time that the event is being hosted outside of Rome by a member country of the International Plant Protection Convention. This year’s theme is “Plant Health and Trade Facilitation”, so this topic featured prominently during the opening remarks from Mr. Bong-Kyun Park, Commissioner of Animal and Plant Quarantine and Inspection (APQI), and in the keynote address by Mr. Kunio Mikuriya, Secretary General of the World Customs Organization.  Other topics under discussion on the first day of the CPM included proposals for dealing with emerging pest issues requiring global action; for building strategic partnerships with interested stakeholders such as industry groups; and for an ambitious new Strategic Framework for 2020 – 2030.

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The perfect storm – how drought is hitting crops hard

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Maize is particularly vulnerable to drought (Photo:  Oxfam International)

Last year, one of the strongest El Niño events ever recorded caused significant changes to weather patterns around the world. Southern and Eastern Africa were hit particularly hard and suffered some of the worst drought conditions for decades, with as little as a quarter of the expected rainfall in the last few months of the year1. Drought is still having devastating impacts on crop yields in Africa, and humanitarian crises have been declared in the worst hit countries.

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