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African Food Security Prize launched to stop the spread of fall armyworm

Feed the Future has opened its call for applications for the Fall Armyworm Tech Prize, which offers to fund up to US$400,000 in digital solutions that aim to help stop the spread of fall armyworm in Africa

Feed the Future is supported by Land O’Lakes International Development and the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research.

Fall armyworm is devastating agriculture and demolishing billions of dollars’ worth of crops across Africa. Some of the selected digital solutions are expected to strengthen resilience against fall armyworm and mitigate risks to food security across the continent.

Fall armyworm attacks more than 80 different plant species. According to the agriculture experts, the pest could cause between US$2.4bn and US$6.2bn in losses for maize, a major staple crop in Africa, on which more than 200mn people depend. Sorghum, rice and sugarcane are also at risk.

There will be

· One grand prize of US$150,000 will be awarded to the most viable solution

· Two awards of US$75,000 for the most promising solutions

· Two runner-up awards of US$50,000 for early stage developments that show potential

The organisers said that the applications may involve a range of digital solutions and must demonstrate how the proposed tool will help smallholder farmers and those that reach them, such as extension agents, monitor, identify, treat or report the incidence of fall armyworm.

The application can be submitted before 14 May 2018. The entries can be submitted from around the world, which are specific to the context of fall armyworm in Africa.