FACT SHEET: Farmer Field Schools capacitating communities to sustainably manage Fall Armyworm

The Livelihoods and Food Security Programme (LFSP) aims to improve food, nutrition and income security among 250,000 smallholder households (approximately 1,250,000 people) in 12 districts. It actively addresses the specific constraints facing smallholder farmers, particularly women that limit the productivity of their farms and their participation in markets. Trans-boundary invasive pests and diseases, notably the Fall Armyworm (FAW) present threats to the attainment of increased crop production and productivity. FAW, which first appeared in Zimbabwe in 2016 is causing significant damage and accompanying yield loss to staple cereal crops, with estimated maize grain yield decrease of 58% (Chimweta et al, 2019: https://doi.org/10.1080/09670874.2019.1577514). Farmer education and community action have shown to be critical elements in the strategy to sustainably manage FAW populations, which is why Farmer Field Schools (FFS) are at the centre of FAW management. Farmer Field Schools, a community-driven approach to agricultural training and education, are an effective way to reach millions of smallholder farmers and successfully engage them in a learning process resulting in better management of their crops, animals and natural resources. FFSs blend well with integrated pest management (IPM) promoted by FAO. IPM emphasizes the growth of a healthy crop with the least possible disruption to agro-ecosystems and encourages natural pest control mechanisms.

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