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 start of the harvest improves acute food insecurity in the southern and central regions
The start of the main harvest in the south and some parts of the central region is contributing to Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food security outcomes across most of the country. However, some populations in Nsanje and Karonga district are facing Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food security outcomes, in the absence of humanitarian assistance. These projected outcomes are expected through September 2017.
• Improved vegetation conditions across Southern Africa increase likelihood of aboveaverage harvests
• USAID partners provide assistance to cyclone- and drought-affected populations
• USAID/OFDA provides nearly $1.6 million to UNICEF to help address nutrition and WASH needs in southern Madagascar
In March, WFP scaled up the cash based transfer component significantly reaching 114,056 people, while 88,580 are receiving in-kind rations in March/April.
WFP’s Food by Prescription project remains underfunded. While the distribution of household rations resumed in November 2016, pipeline breaks are expected in June 2017.
Drought and Food Security:
On 3 March 2017, Namibia celebrated Africa Day for School Feeding. The Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture in partnership with WFP and sponsors from the private sector commemorated the day at Hillside Primary School in Goreangab Dam, Windhoek. This day was celebrated to raise awareness of school feeding as an important food safety net for protection against hunger and investment in the education of children.
Maize price trends were mixed in February in the region. Tanzania and the DRC saw significant month-on-month (m-o-m) price increase of their main staple. Zambia and especially Tanzania registered the highest increase in the number of markets in ALPS Crisis.
This report is jointly produced by the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA), Government of Malawi, the United Nations Office of the Resident Coordinator and humanitarian partners in Malawi.
• In May 2016, the Malawi Vulnerability Annual Assessment Committee (MVAC) revealed that 6.5 million people, about 39% of the total population was at risk of food insecurity in 24 of the 28 districts. However, in October 2016, a field assessment to update the situation reported that the number had increased to 6.7 million people.
It was first detected in Africa barely a year ago, yet the fall armyworm, a type of caterpillar whose name derives from its tendency to maraud in vast numbers, has already infested hundreds of thousands of hectares of maize across more than a dozen countries on the continent, presenting a serious threat to food security.
Food security outcomes to improve due to average national harvest prospects
Despite the Minister of Agriculture’s maize export ban on commercial traders, exports of maize through WFP’s humanitarian window continues. As of 28 February, cumulative tonnage dispatches (13,000 mt contract) was 5,348 mt.
FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
Cereal production in 2017 forecast at near-average levels
Imports of maize increase in 2016/17 marketing year to compensate for reduced 2016 harvest
National average maize price declined at the start of 2017, but remained at high levels
Food security situation expected to improve in 2017 on account of expected average harvest following sharp deterioration in 2016
Maize production in 2017 expected to rebound to average levels
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 current rainy 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.