Original Research

Impact of fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda) (J.E. Smith) on small-scale maize farmers and its control strategies in the Limpopo province, South Africa

Mankwana C. Makgoba, Phumudzo P. Tshikhudo, Livhuwani R. Nnzeru, Rudzani A. Makhado
Jàmbá: Journal of Disaster Risk Studies | Vol 13, No 1 | a1016 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jamba.v13i1.1016 | © 2021 Mankwana C. Makgoba, Phumudzo P. Tshikhudo, Livhuwani R. Nnzeru, Rudzani A. Makhado | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 09 July 2020 | Published: 27 October 2021

About the author(s)

Mankwana C. Makgoba, Centre for Sustainable Agriculture, Rural Development, and Extension, Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa
Phumudzo P. Tshikhudo, Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Directorate Plant Health, Division Pest Risk Analysis, Arcadia, Pretoria, South Africa
Livhuwani R. Nnzeru, Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, Directorate Biosecurity, Cape Town, South Africa
Rudzani A. Makhado, Department of Biodiversity, University of Limpopo, Sovenga, South Africa

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South Africa experienced major outbreaks of fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda) (J.E. Smith) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae), causing direct damage by feeding on both vegetative and reproductive parts of host plant. The study was conducted to determine the level of impact of fall armyworm on small-scale maize famers after the outbreak of fall armyworm and their control strategies at Ga-Mashashane and Mankweng villages in the Limpopo province. Semi-structured questionnaire was designed to gather information on the damage caused by fall armyworm, economic impact on the local market and control measures on fall armyworm. Using a snowball sampling procedure, 63 small-scale maize farmers from the two villages of the Limpopo province, South Africa, were randomly selected for this study. The results showed that all participants could correctly identify the fall armyworm and reported it as the most important maize pest during 2016–2017 cropping season. The maize yield loss experienced by affected farmers in the 2016–2017 cropping season was slightly lower as compared with the 2015–2016 harvest. These farmers used pesticides as a control measure for fall armyworm. Fall armyworm has become a major pest in South Africa and the tackling of fall armyworm by small-scale farmers and averting yield losses is thus critical. This study contributes to the knowledge on fall armyworm management by small-scale farmers, which is essential to enhancing food security.


Quarantine pest; Spodoptera frugiperda; fall armyworm; maize; small-scale farmers


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