Awareness creation of smallholder farmers on and adoption of push-pull technology reduces fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda) infestation on maize in Hawzien Woreda, Northern Ethiopia

  • Haftay Gebreyesus Gebreziher Adigrat University
  • Fissiha Gebreyesus Gebreazgaabher Adigrat University
  • Yemane Kahsay Berhe Adigrat University
Keywords: Fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda); maize; silver-leaf desmodium; Sudan grass; push-pull technology; smallholder farmers


Recently, maize (Zea mays L.) production by smallholder farmers in Ethiopia has been threatened by an exotic pest called fall armyworm (FAW) (Spodoptera frugiperda J.E. Smith; Lepidoptera, Noctuidae). Devising or adopting sustainable, effective, affordable and smallholder farmers-friendly management strategies for the control of this pest are, therefore, vital. Push-Pull Technology (PPT) is considered one of the management methods for the control of FAW in East Africa. Therefore, the aim of this study is to determine pre- and post-training perceptions of smallholder farmers on FAW and PPT, and evaluate the status of the pest and plant damage on PPT adopted maize fields through rain-fed and irrigated farming. We found that the smallholder farmers had little or no knowledge of biology, identification, and management methods of FAW and about PPT before training. However, the farmers responded to the acquisition of adequate knowledge and skills on these topics after training. The FAW eggs and larvae and the proportion of plant damages were significantly lower in PPT treated maize plots relative to maize monocrop plots. This study depicts the adoption of PPT by smallholder farmers along with training resulted in the reduction of FAW.  Thus, adoption and extension of PPT are expected to play a vital role in the management of FAW mainly in the smallholder farming system.

Author Biographies

Haftay Gebreyesus Gebreziher, Adigrat University

Department of Horticulture (Ph.D., Assistant Professor)

Fissiha Gebreyesus Gebreazgaabher, Adigrat University

Department of Horticulture (MSc, Assistant Professor)

Yemane Kahsay Berhe, Adigrat University

Department of Horticulture (MSc, Assistant Professor)


Abate, T., Shiferaw, B., Menkir, A., Wegary, D., Kebede, Y., Tesfaye, K., Kassie, M., Bogale, G., Tadesse, B., & Keno, T. (2015). Factors that transformed maize productivity in Ethiopia. Food Sec., 7, 965-981. doi. 10.1007/s12571-015-0488-z
Abrahams, P., Beale, T., Cock, M., Corniani, N., Day, R., Godwin, J., Murphy, S., Richards, G., & Vos, J. (2017). Fall Armyworm Status: Impacts and control options in Africa: Preliminary Evidence Note, CABI
Al-Sarar, A., Hall, F.R., & Downer, R.A. (2016). Impact of spray application methodology on the development of resistance to cypermethrin and spinosad by fall armyworm Spodoptera frugiperda (J.E. Smith). Pest Manage. Sci., 62, 1023-1031
Andrade, R., Rodriguez, C., & Oehlschlager, A.C. (2000). Optimization of a pheromone lure for Spodoptera frugiperda (Smith) in Central America. J. Braz. Chem. Soc., 11(6), 609-613
Baudron, F., Zaman-Allah, M.A., Chaipa, I., Chari, N., & Chinwada, P. (2019). Understanding the factors influencing fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda J.E. Smith) damage in African smallholder maize fields and quantifying its impact on yield. A case study in Eastern Zimbabwe. Crop Protection, 120, 141-150
Bhattacharyya, M. (2017). The push-pull strategy: a new approach to the eco-friendly method of pest management in agriculture. J Entomol Zool Stud, 5(3), 604-607
CSA, Central Statistics Agency. (2016). Maize Value Chain Potential in Ethiopia. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Day, R., Abrahams, P., Bateman, M., Beale, T., Clottey, V., & Cock, M., et al. (2017). Fall armyworm: Impacts and implications for Africa. Outlooks on Pest Management, 196-201. doi: 10.1564/v28_oct_02
FAO. (2017). The future of food and agriculture; trends and challenges. Food and Agricultural Organizations of the United Nations. Rome, Italy
FAO. (2019). Regional workshop for Asian sustainable management of fall armyworm. Kunning city, Yunnan, China
FAO. (2020). Food Chain Crisis Early Warning Bulletin; Forecasting threats to the food chain affecting food security in countries and regions. Food and Agricultural Organizations of the United Nations. Number 34, Rome, Italy
Gebreziher, H.G., & Gebreziher, F.G. (2020). Effect of integrating night-time light traps and push-pull method on monitoring and deterring adult fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda). International Journal of Entomology Research, 5(1), 28-32
Gebreziher, H.G. (2020a). Review on management methods of fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda JE Smith) in Sub-Saharan Africa. International Journal of Entomology Research, 5(2), 09-14
Gebreziher, H.G. (2020b). Advances in herbivore-induced plant volatiles (HIPVs) as plant defense and application potential for crop protection. International Journal of Botany Studies, 5(2), 29-36
Goergen, G., Kumar, P.L., Sankung, S.B., Togola, A., & Tamò, M. (2016). First report of outbreaks of the fall armyworm Spodoptera frugiperda (JE Smith) (Lepidoptera, Noctuidae), a new alien invasive pest in west and central Africa. PLoS One, 11, e0165632
Guerrero, A., Malo, E.A., Coll, J., & Quero. C. (2014). Semiochemical and natural product-based approaches to control Spodoptera spp. (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae). J Pest Sci, 87, 231-247. doi: 10.1007/s10340-013-0533-7
Harrison, R.D., Thierfelder, C., Baudron, F., Chinwada, P., Midega, C.A.O., Schaffner, U., & Van den Berg, J. (2019). Agro-ecological options for all fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda JE Smith) management: Providing low-cost, smallholder friendly solutions to an invasive pest. J Environ Manag, 243, 318-330
Holdrege, C. (2012). Context-Sensitive Action: The development of Push-Pull Farming in Africa. In Context #27, ICIPE, Kenya
Hruska, A.J. (2019). Fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda) management by smallholders. CAB Reviews, 043. doi: 10.1079/PAVSNNR201914043
Kassie, M., Stage, J., Diiro, G., Muriithi, B., Muricho, G., Ledermann, S.T., Pittchar, J., Midega, C., & Khan, Z. (2018). Push-pull farming system in Kenya: Implications for economic and social welfare. Land Use Policy, 77, 186-198
Khan, Z.R., Midega, C.A.O., Hutter, N.J., Wilkins, R.M., & Wadhams, L.J. (2006). Assessment of the potential of Napier grass (Pennisetum purpureum) varieties as trap plants for management of Chilo partellus. Entomol. Exp. Appl., 119, 15-22
Khan, Z.R., & Pickett, J.A. (2015). Push-pull Strategy for Insect Pest Management. ICIPE, Kenya
Midega, C.A.O., Bruce, T.J., Pickett, J.A., & Khan, Z.R. (2015a). Ecological management of cereal stem borers in African smallholder agriculture through behavioral manipulation. Ecol. Entomol., 40 (Suppl. 1), 70-81
Midega, C.A.O., Bruce, T.J., Pickett, J.A., & Khan, Z.R. (2015b). Climate-adopted companion cropping increases agricultural productivity in East Africa. Field Crops Research, 180, 118-125
Midega, C.A.O., Khan, Z.R., Pickett, J.A., & Nylin, S. (2011). Host plant selection in Chilo partellus and its implication for effectiveness of a trap crop. Entomol. Exp. Appl., 138, 40-47
Midega, C.A.O., Khan, Z.R., Van den Berg, J., Ogol, C.K.P.O., Pickett, J.A., & Wadhams, L.J. (2006). Maize stemborer predator activity under ‘push–pull’ system and Bt-maize: a potential component in managing Bt resistance. Int. J. Pest Manage., 52, 1-10
Midega, C.A.O., Wasonga, C.J., Hooper, A.M., Pickett, A.J., & Khan Z.R. (2017). Drough-tolerant Desmodium species effectively suppress parasitic striga weed and improve cereal grain yields in western Kenya. Crop Protection, 98, 94-101
Midega, C.A.O., Pittchar, J.O., Pickett, J.A., Hailu, G.W., & Khan, Z.R. (2018). A climate-adapted push-pull system effectively controls fall armyworm, Spodoptera frugiperda (J E Smith), in maize in East Africa. Crop Protection, 105, 10-15. doi: 10.1016/j.cropro.2017.11.003
Murray, K., Jepson, P.C., & Chaola, M. (2019). Fall Armyworm Management by Maize Smallholders in Malawi: An Integrated Pest Management Strategic Plan. Mexico, CDMX, CIMMYT
Mutyambai, D.M., Bass, E., Luttermoser, T., Poveda, K., Midega, C.A.O., Khan, Z.R., & Kessleer, A. (2019). More than “push” and “Pull”? Plant-soil feedbacks of maize companion cropping increase chemical plant defenses against herbivores. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, 7, 217. doi: 10.3389/fevo.2019.00217
Oketch, A. (2012). Push and pull’ trick to control armyworm. Business Daily 2017, Kenya. Available online: (Accessed on September 20, 2018)
Pickett, J.A., Woodcock, C.W., Midega, C.A.O., & Khan, Z.R. (2014). Push-pull farming systems. Current Opinion in Biotechnology, 26, 125-132
Shiberu, T. (2013). In vitro evaluation of aqua extracts of some botanicals against maize stem borer, Busseola fusca F. (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae). J Plant Pathol Microb, 4 (5). doi:10.4172/2157-7471.1000179
Storer, N.P., Babcock, J.M., Schlenz, M., Meade, T., & Thompson, G.D. (2010). Discovery and characterization of field resistance to Bt maize: Spodoptera frugiperda (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) in Puerto Rico. J. Econ. Entomol., 103, 1031-1038
Tefera, T., Mugo, S., Mwimali, M., Anani, B., Tende, R., & Beyene, Y. et al. (2016). Resistant of Bt-maize (MON810) against the stem borer Busseola fusca (Fuller) and Chilo partellus (Swinhoe) and its yield performance in Kenya. Crop Protection, 89, 202-208
Waktole, S., & Amsalu, A. (2012). Storage pest of maize and their status in Jimma Zone, Ethiopia. African Journal of Agricultural Research, 7(28), 4056-4060
Westbrook, J.K., Nagoshi, R.N., Meagher, R.L., Fliescher, S.J., & Jairam, S. (2016). Modeling seasonal migration of fall armyworm moths. Int J Biometeorol, 60, 255-267
Yu, S.J. (1992). Detection and biochemical characterization of insecticide resistance in fall armyworm (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae. J. Econ. Entomol., 85, 675-682
How to Cite
Gebreziher, H. G., Gebreazgaabher, F. G., & Berhe, Y. K. (2020). Awareness creation of smallholder farmers on and adoption of push-pull technology reduces fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda) infestation on maize in Hawzien Woreda, Northern Ethiopia. Future of Food: Journal on Food, Agriculture and Society, 9(1). Retrieved from
Research Articles