Reports from the Zambia Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit indicate that as of 9 January 2017, close to 130,000 ha planted to maize had been affected by a severe outbreak of the Fall Armyworm, which is new to the southern African region. Of the affected area, over 68,000 ha may require re-planting. Government efforts to control the outbreak are underway...With 94% of the country’s districts affected in varying degrees, including several districts bordering Zambia’s eight neighbours in the SADC region, vigilant region-wide monitoring activities are required. (SADC, 13 Jan 2017)
A fall armyworm outbreak, the first emergence of the pest in southern Africa, is causing considerable crop damage in some countries. If the pest damage aggravates, it could dampen prospects for good crop harvests that is anticipated in the current farming season. Maize, a staple food in the region, has been the most affected, as well as other cereals including sorghum, millet and wheat. Southern Africa is reeling from the effects of two consecutive years of El Niño-induced drought that affected over 40 million people, reduced food availability by 15 percent and caused a cereal deficit of 9 million tonnes. (FAO, 3 Feb 2017)
Sixteen East and Southern African countries agreed on 16 February on urgent plans of action aimed at boosting the region’s capacity to manage emerging crop pests and livestock diseases, including armyworm and avian influenza ... Zambia has reported that almost 90 000 hectares of maize have been affected, forcing farmers to replant their crops. In Malawi some 17 000 hectares have so far been affected while in Namibia, approximately 50 000 hectares of maize and millet has been damaged and in Zimbabwe up to 130 000 hectares could be affected thus far. (FAO, 16 Feb 2017)
Floods triggered by Tropical Cyclone Dineo impact vulnerable populations in Mozambique, Zimbabwe
FAO convenes regional meeting on armyworm infestations
USAID partners continue to respond to drought-related humanitarian needs throughout Southern Africa
Food Assistance in Numbers
- Over the three month peak of the crisis (January—March), WFP’s aims to reach more than 13 million people with food assistance in Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
- In January, food assistance reached 10.6 million people in the seven countries.
Southern and central areas continued to receive well above average rains in January
Poor rainfall was received in western and north-eastern SADC and Madagascar
The Fall Armyworm has been confirmed in 7 countries in the region. The severity of the impact on regional crop production is yet to be established
Tropical cyclones Carlos and Dineo affected the region in early to mid-February. The impacts of Cyclone Dineo are severe, particularly in southern Mozambique
Strengthening national and regional early warning systems, response and preparedness plans
16 February 2016, Harare – Sixteen East and Southern African countries agreed today on urgent plans of action aimed at boosting the region’s capacity to manage emerging crop pests and livestock diseases, including armyworm and avian influenza.
Calls for enhanced capacities to prepare for and respond to emerging pests and diseases
15 February 2017, Harare - A three-day Regional Emergency Meeting discussing new transboundary crop and livestock pests in Southern Africa kicked off today with a call for increased investment in preparedness and response capacities to new and endemic threats in Southern Africa.
Maize prices continued to increase in December in most countries in the region. The upward pressure is likely due to the peak of the lean season. Overall, maize prices are very likely to remain above their average price trend at least until the next harvest. The two countries in the region with the maximum monitored maize market in ALPS Crisis were Malawi and (89% of its markets) and Mozambique (100% of its markets).
WFP scales up its El Niño response to an additional 78,000 people in four districts, reaching 1.1 million people with Lean Season Assistance in January.
Initial findings of the ZimVAC Rapid Rural Assessment suggest that the lean season assistance may need to be extended for two months to prevent farmers from prematurely consuming immature crops.
Additional resources are urgently needed to support existing and additional new refugees at Tongogara refugee camp.
Scientists are calling for urgent action to contain the spread of a pest that is destroying maize crops and spreading rapidly across Africa.
Researchers tracking a crop-destroying caterpillar known as the fall armyworm say it is now spreading rapidly across mainland Africa and could reach tropical Asia and the Mediterranean in the next few years, threatening agricultural trade.
The fall armyworm moth has dark-gray, mottled forewings with light and dark splotches, and a noticeable white spot near the extreme end of each.
HARARE — The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is holding an emergency regional meeting in Zimbabwe on the spread of army worms in southern Africa, which is already struggling with food shortages. The pests are destroying crops in Malawi, Zimbabwe and Zambia.
FAO coordinator for southern Africa Chimimba David Phiri said the meeting is aimed at finding a strategy to contain the situation.
Armyworm outbreak in several countries may affect maize production levels
In January, areas in Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and Lesotho continued to face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) acute food insecurity outcomes where humanitarian assistance coverage is very low and needs are high. During this peak lean period, there is the possibility for some isolated households to experience Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes. In Madagascar and Malawi, area outcomes have improved to Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) because of ongoing assistance.
As the Zambian government scales up efforts to control an army worm outbreak that is damaging maize crops across the country, William Chilufya wonders if the infestation will encourage a policy shift away from mono-cropping maize.
Maize – Zambia's primary staple crop – is under attack from fall army worms. The fall army worm is a migratory pest that rapidly moves through fields eating young plant stems at lightning speed, leaving devastation in their wake. It is estimated that 10 per cent of Zambian farms in six provinces have already been affected.
Monday, 6 February 2017 00:01 GMT
The armyworm is destroying young maize plants across Africa and could reach Asia and the Mediterranean in the next few years, threatening agricultural trade
By Kate Kelland
LONDON, Feb 6 (Reuters) - Scientists tracking a crop-destroying caterpillar known as armyworm say it is now spreading rapidly across mainland Africa and could reach tropical Asia and the Mediterranean in the next few years, threatening agricultural trade.
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New pest poses novel threat to region reeling from effects of consecutive droughts
3 February 2017, Harare – A fall armyworm outbreak, the first emergence of the pest in southern Africa, is causing considerable crop damage in some countries. If the pest damage aggravates, it could dampen prospects for good crop harvests that is anticipated in the current farming season. Maize, a staple food in the region has been the most affected, as well as other cereals including sorghum, millet and wheat.
The Global Early Warning – Early Action (EWEA) report on food security and agriculture is developed by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). The report is part of FAO’s EWEA system, which aims to translate forecasts and early warnings into anticipatory action.
EWEA enables FAO to act early before disasters have happened and to mitigate or even prevent their impact. By lessening damages to livelihoods and protecting assets and investments, FAO can help local livelihoods become more resilient to threats and crises.
The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) today received a diagnostic report from the Agricultural Research Council, Plant Protection Research Institute (ARC PPRI) to confirm that the Fall Army Worm was positively identified from samples collected in the Limpopo Province. The samples were jointly collected by scientists from the ARC Grain Institute and the North West University. These were caterpillars that had to pupate and emerge as moths before a positive identification could be done.
4 million Zimbabweans need food aid until the end of March because of the 2016 drought
Incessant rains follow worst drought in 25 years
Staple maize and tobacco worst hit by rains
Fertiliser shortages add to maize farmers' problems
By MacDonald Dzirutwe
The outbreak has hit crops in Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi
Samples being tested for confirmation
Outbreak has hit crops in Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi
Damage can leave maize plants looking like broom sticks
By Ed Stoddard
• Food insecurity persists throughout Southern Africa
• Above-average rainfall likely to improve crop production regionally; however, some areas at risk of flooding
• Armyworm infestations damage maize in Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe
After a prolonged drought, incessant rains in most parts of Zimbabwe had raised hope that food shortages would be eased. But an outbreak of armyworms may be making the situation worse.