Southern Africa: Armyworm Infestation - Jan 2017Alert
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 first 20 days of April saw an increase in rainfall in Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, and South Africa, after a relatively dry March. Rainfall tapered off in late April, although some areas in Zimbabwe and central Mozambique received higher than usual rainfall amounts for this time of year ... The excessive rainfall in some areas also appears to have helped suppress the impact of the fall armyworm, a new pest which has invaded 11 SADC countries. (SADC, 28 Apr 2017)
Preliminary assessments, conducted between mid-February and the end of April 2017, showed that approximately 356,000 hectares of crops were affected by the fall armyworm infestation in seven reporting Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) member states: Botswana, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland and Zambia. (FAO, 26 May 2017)
Parts of central semiarid areas likely to be in Crisis during the lean season
- Households in Hhohho and Lubombo are resorting less to negative coping strategies
- Households headed by women continue to engage more in negative coping than those headed by men
- Food consumption improves in Manzini
- Maize meal prices remain higher than the five-year average
- Sugar bean prices fall
• UNICEF provided eight water tanker trucks to the Government of Namibia to support water-stressed communities in seven drought-affected regions. UNICEF also provided 15,000 bednets in support of the malaria outbreak response which has affected more than 11,900 people in the first quarter of 2017.
Due to improved harvests, FEWS NET projects Minimal levels of food insecurity in Southern Africa through January 2018, with pockets of Stressed or Crisis levels in some countries
Relief actors provide targeted assistance to vulnerable populations to facilitate continued recovery
USAID/OFDA provides approximately $26 million in new funding to support cyclone- and drought-affected populations in the region
Improved maize supplies trigger significant staple price declines in the region
• Since 2011, Zimbabwe’s Gross Domesc Product growth rate has been declining from a high of 11.9% to 1.5% in 2015. It was esmated at 0.6% in 2016 but is now projected to rise to 3.7% in 2017 and to taper off slightly to 3.4% in 2018 mainly on the back of improved performance of the agricultural sector (Ministry of Finance, 2017; World Bank, 2017).
Regional main staples prices mostly declined, and were below their respective 2016 levels in most areas except Tanzania. Most WFP monitored markets showed normal price level in April and May for maize and maize meal reflecting increased availability. Zambia maize prices increased on average probably in anticipation of a higher price floor to bet set by the government in the coming weeks.
By Busani Bafana
BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe, Jul 18 2017 (IPS)
Southern African countries have agreed on a multi-pronged plan to increase surveillance and research to contain the fall army worm, which has cut forecast regional maize harvests by up to ten percent, according to a senior U.N. Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) official.
A recently arrived species of armyworm has spread to 21 African countries and threatens the continent's main food staple, maize, report experts from the U.S. Agency for International Development.
USAID senior biotechnology advisor Joseph Huesing says the fall armyworms -- transported from their usual habitat in the U.S. state of Florida or the Caribbean -- are attacking maize crops all over sub-Saharan Africa.
6 July 2017, Accra – At a Side Event of the 40th FAO Conference on the Fall Armyworm (FAW) held in Rome, the FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Africa, Bukar Tijani, announced that the Organization will host a global technical meeting of FAW experts from 18 to 20 July 2017 in Accra, Ghana, as part of the ongoing efforts led by FAO to curb the outbreak of FAW pests afflicting the agricultural sectors of a vast number of countries across the African continent.
Fall Armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda), FAW, is a moth native to tropical and subtropical regions of the Americas, whose larva (photo) causes damage to crops. It mainly affects maize, with potential hosts from 26 plant families. Significant yield loss can be caused by FAW, if not well managed. FAW has several generations per year and the moth can fly up to 100 km per night.
Fall Armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda), FAW, is an insect pest that feeds on more than 80 crop species, causing damage to economically important cultivated cereals such as maize, rice, sorghum, and also to legumes as well as vegetable crops and cotton.
Food security continues to improve as households enjoy better dietary diversity in most districts in monitored provinces
There is a marked increase in the share of households with high dietary diversity in Copperbelt Province
Groundnut prices plummet in Mafinga in Muchinga Province, Petauke in Eastern Province and Choma in Southern Province
Maize prices fall considerably in Nakonde in Mafinga Province, Petauke in Eastern Province and Kaoma in Western Province
FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
National cereal production in 2017 forecast at above-average levels, mainly as a result of generally favourable seasonal rains
Maize prices declined on expectations of improved output in 2017, while strengthening of national currency also eased inflationary pressure
- May harvests bring down maize and pulses prices
- The use of coping strategies falls among households led by women and households receiving food assistance
- Fewer households receive food assistance as programmes are scaled down