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)
The Government declared a State of National Disaster following the floods in southern parts of the country. WFP is providing complimentary assistance to affected people in Tsholotsho.
WFP plans to support the UNHCR-led effort to relocate refugees from Chipinge and Nyanga.
WFP Zimbabwe’s new Country Strategic Plan (2017 - 2021) was approved by the Executive Board on 22 February, 2017.
WFP assisted 153,000 drought affected people with emergency food rations (123,000 people) and Cash-Based Transfers (CBT) (30,000 people). WFP will scale up assistance to reach up to 233,000 people in March.
The Ministry of Agriculture has reported the presence of fall armyworm in the country, however the extent of impact is not yet known. A pre-harvest assessment is ongoing in March.
The currentrainy season (November to April 2017) has brought steady rainfall and relieved some effects of El Niño, but has resulted in flooding, school closures and the relocation of 1,092 people, especially in the northern regions. The Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF) have warned of possible flooding in north-central Namibia. Regional institutions have been alerted and are putting contingency measures in place.
Outbreaks of Fall Armyworm, Spodoptera frugiperda, have been reported in DRC, Zambia, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Botswana, South Africa, Namibia, Swaziland, Ghana and Kenya.
Regionally, around 330,000 hectares of staple crops, especially maize, have been affected. The remaining southern African mainland countries remain at high risk (OCHA 27/02/2017).
• Tropical Cyclone Enawo affects approximately 434,000 people in Madagascar
• USAID assists cyclone-affected populations in Madagascar and Mozambique
• Food security conditions in Southern Africa likely to improve when April/May harvests begin
Good performance of the current growing season (Oct 2016 – April 2017) is critical for Southern Africa, after suffering from two consecutive droughts induced by a long lasting El Niño event which led to unprecedented levels of food insecurity.
by Busani Bafana | @maboys | Thomson Reuters Foundation
Monday, 20 March 2017 06:13 GMT
Drought-hit farmers are hoping for their first bumper harvest in years, but army worm pests and floods are lowering expectations
By Busani Bafana
GWANDA, Zimbabwe, March 20 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - After plenty of rain, Isaac Siziba's maize fields looked set for a bumper harvest this season, similar to the one he gathered in 2014, before Zimbabwe suffered a long and punishing drought.
17 February 2017, Harare - A three-day Regional Emergency Meeting discussing new transboundary crop and livestock pests in Southern Africa ended on 16 February 2017 with a call for increased investment in preparedness and response capacities to new and endemic threats in Southern Africa.
Near Term: February - May 2017 Medium Term: June - September 2017
Maize prices continued to increase in January in most countries in the region. The upward pressure is likely to be due to the peak of the lean season. Overall, maize prices will remain above their average price trend at least until the next harvest. Malawi and Mozambique have the highest number of Maize markets in ALPS Crisis at 71 percent and 100 percent respectively.
Omuthiya – Farmers in the Oshikoto Region are hopeful that this year they will have a good harvest despite the outbreak of worms in their fields in recent weeks. One of the hopeful farmers from Omuthiya, Esther Clonelius, who has been very busy weeding her three fields, says a part of one of her fields, situated a few kilometres outside Omuthiya, is already infested by unidentified worms.
Clonelius described the worms as having a red and greenish colour but has not reported the matter to the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry.
FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
Forecasts point to production recovery in 2017, but army worm outbreak and heavy rains likely to restrain bigger gains
Maize imports rise in 2016/17 to boost domestic supplies following sharp production decrease in 2016
Estimated 4.1 million people food insecure, but conditions expected to improve with 2017 harvest beginning in April
Maize production in 2017 forecast to recover from 2016’s drought-reduced output
Approximately 6.7 million people, about half of Malawi’s rural population, will receive assistance in February. Food insecure populations in central and southern Malawi will face Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) acute food insecurity outcomes, in the presence of humanitarian assistance. These outcomes are expected to continue in March, during the peak lean season. Were the humanitarian response not present, these areas would experience Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes.
Strategic reserve is half its optimal size
Government's main focus is on fall armyworm
Fears pest will infest sugarcane and spread (Adds detail, quote)
By MacDonald Dzirutwe
HARARE, March 2 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe, which is recovering from drought and battling a pest that threatens its maize crop, has budgeted $140 million to buy maize from farmers for its strategic reserve, Agriculture Minister Joseph Made told parliament on Thursday.
Pretoria – As the Western Cape faces a serious drought due to poor rainfall during winter, the Department of Water and Sanitation has informed the agricultural sector of 10 percent additional water restrictions.
The demand for water in the province has steadily increased due to the growing population and economy. This, as well as poor rainfall, has added significant pressure on water supply.
Harvest prospects remain good despite pest infestation and delayed input support
Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity outcomes are expected to continue in most parts of the country during the first half of the outlook period. In the extreme southwest and southeast, areas will remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2) during the February and March period as poor households continue to rely on income from labor and face diminishing purchase power due to high staple prices.
An outbreak of fall armyworm, a new pest in the region, has been reported in Zambia, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Botswana, South Africa, Namibia and Swaziland. Regionally, around 330,000 ha of staple crops (especially maize) have been affected. The remaining SADC mainland countries remain at high risk.