The fall armyworm (Spodoptera Frugiperda) is a pest that attacks more than 80 species of cultivated plants, causing damages to cereals of high economic importance such as maize, rice, sorghum. They also attack garden’s crops and cotton. The fall armyworm is native of the tropical and subtropical regions of America and has been spread out in more than 30 African countries, since 2016 where it was first detected in Africa. It has several generations per year and the nocturnal moth or night butterfly that represents its adult state can fly up to 100km per night.
According to a publication of the Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International (CABI) in September 2017, the fall armyworm can cause important losses of 8.3 to 20.6 million tons per year, in only 12 African corn producers countries which represent a proportion of 21 to 53% of the annual maize production of these countries, for an estimated loss value of US $2.48 and 6.19 billion. The fall armyworm is seriously threatening the food security of sub-Saharan African countries that live predominantly of maize. Nowadays, no pesticides have been found to be effective in fighting against it. Unfortunately, it continues to spread and create a large loss on crops every year.
My innovation is to control the reproduction and propagation of the fall armyworm by trapping adult males. Adult males will be attracted by the pheromones of the females which will be synthesized and put into traps. The capture of adult males will limit mating so that the number of spawning in the female will be reduced and thus reduce the population of the fall armyworm.
How do I want to do it?
Setting up the traps of adult males will necessitate:
- the synthetization of the sexual pheromone of the female.
- The sexual pheromone of Spodoptera Frugiperda contains (z)-9-Tetradecenyle (Z-9-14: OAca) acetate, which can be chemically synthesized in the laboratory with the same effects on the adult male as the natural one.
- Adult males will be attracted by this pheromone, trapped then destroyed.
- This reproduction disturbance will cause the adult females who live about only 14 days to die without leaving progenies.
- Repeating the operation several times during the year will lead towards the disappearance of the fall armyworm.
Why I am passionate about the idea I am proposing?
I am passionate about the innovation I propose because the reduction of this pest will allow the populations of affected countries in Africa to have fewer agricultural losses and therefore ensure their food security and have more financial income, thus reduce poverty. Originally from sub-Saharan Africa which is the most affected part of Africa, I am happy to impact positively my community by providing a sustainable solution for the protection of their crops.
Léa Rosine Djoussi Nde, Cameroon