Response to Pests & Diseases

As a dynamic and nimble organization with strong ties to the ASEAN Secretariat, the ASEAN Member States, numerous multi and bilateral agencies, and the key players in the region's agriculture sector, Grow Asia is uniquely positioned to facilitate regional responses to outbreaks of pests & diseases. We do this by:

Increasing awareness and sharing of best practices


Developing regional Action Plans with the ASEAN Secretariat

Identifying avenues to resource these Action Plans

Working with our partners, Country Partnerships, and Working Groups to operationalize them




This page highlights some of this work and outlines opportunities for collaboration.


Fall Armyworm (FAW):


The fall armyworm (FAW) was first reported in Southeast Asia in late 2018 in Thailand and Myanmar. It has since rapidly spread, and its presence is now confirmed in almost all ASEAN countries. The pest can cause major damage, particularly to maize, with estimates indicating an annual USD884 million cost to the region. 


In 2019, ASEAN supported the development of a regionally coordinated response and requested that Grow Asia, with the ASEAN Secretariat and the Vietnamese Government, develop a regional FAW strategy. The ASEAN Action Plan on Fall Armyworm Control was subsequently approved as a regional action plan in August 2020. This comprehensive Plan sets out the goals, objectives, and work programs to manage the pest over the next five years. 


Grow Asia is the current Secretariat of the ASEAN Action Plan on Fall Armyworm Control. Flagship projects are currently being explored with partners covering resistance management, surveillance and monitoring, biocontrol, farmer communication and action, drones, and digital; and the development of a Women as Integrated Pest Management Leaders program.


More information - including available resources, upcoming events and opportunities for collaboration - can be found on the ASEAN FAW Action Innovation and Knowledge Hub.



African Swine Fever

The 2018 introduction of African swine fever (ASF) in China was the catalyst for the extremely rapid spread of the disease across Asia, particularly in Southeast Asia, paralyzing the pork industry and devastating smallholder communities that rely on these animals for their livelihoods. According to the World Organization for Animal Health, ASF was first reported in Vietnam in February 2019, Cambodia in March, Laos in June, Myanmar in August, the Philippines in July, Indonesia in November and Papua New Guinea in March 2020  - causing the death of >100 million domestic pigs.


As ASF is a transboundary disease with no vaccine currently available, concerted regional cooperation is vitally needed to build awareness of and enable the adoption of the strict biosecurity measures needed to limit the spread of the disease. As such, Grow Asia and our Country Partnerships (e.g., the Philippines, where there have been ~500,000 losses as of February 2021) have been running a series of learning events highlighting how our partners are and should be working with the smallholders, distributors and processors in their supply chain to manage the spread of ASF. 


Avian Influenza

Smallholder farming remains the bedrock of Southeast Asia’s food system. However, these farms can also be the source of dangerous diseases that can be transmitted from animals to people, with drastic consequences for human health, socio-economic welfare and the environment. In poultry systems, one notable example is avian influenza - better known as “bird flu”. 


Despite the general success of control policies in Southeast Asia, regular avian influenza outbreaks continue to occur with devastating impacts that are compounded with the enduring effects of previous pandemic cycles (e.g., the slumping of farm gate prices). Controlling the spread of avian influenza on small-scale family farms will continue to be crucial to manage the disease. Grow Asia and our Country Partnerships work with our partners to highlight tools, practices and policies to control diseases like bird flu and pathways to support smallholder recovery from outbreaks.