Pest & Disease Control
Pest and disease control is important for smallholder farmers across the region and is a vital activity of resilient and sustainable food systems. Grow Asia is uniquely positioned to facilitate and support regional coordinated responses to outbreaks of pests and diseases by:
Increasing awareness and sharing of best practices
Working with our partners, Country Partnerships, and Working Groups to operationalize collaborative responses to pest and disease management.
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, after which Grow Asia was appointed as the interim Secretariat of the Action Plan.
In July 2022, following two years of successfully incubating the Action Plan, the Secretariat was transitioned to the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO).
Flagship projects under the Action Plan include programs on Resistance management, Surveillance and monitoring, Biocontrol, Farmer communication,, Drone, and digital IPM; and the Women as Integrated Pest Management Leaders program.
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.
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.