As millions of east African farmers seek to recover from a devastating drought, they face a new threat – the fall armyworm. The pest has been recently detected in Kenya and is suspected to have entered the country from Uganda. It is also known to be present in Burundi, Ethiopia and Rwanda. The fall armyworm was first reported in western Kenya by farmers in March 2017, and immediately confirmed by the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service and Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation. The initial counties infested were Busia, TransNzoia, Bungoma, Uasin Gishu and Nandi. (FAO, 25 Apr 2017)
As of 23 May, Fall Armyworm has affected more than 143,000 hectares of land in major maize and wheat-producing counties [in Kenya]. [FAO] and the Ministry of Agriculture have adopted a planning response figure of 800,000 hectares, which requires US$33.5 million for pesticides and awareness campaigns in the medium term. US$6.6 million is required for an immediate response. (OCHA, UNCT Kenya, 23 May 2017)
In collaboration with [FAO] and other development partners, the Government of Ethiopia has intensified efforts to protect major maize growing areas from the ravage of the fall armyworm. The fall armyworm, which first arrived in Africa in 2016, was intercepted on a few hectares of irrigated maize fields in southern Ethiopia in the last week of February 2017. It has now covered about 52 962 hectares in 144 districts in three of the major maize-growing regional states – Gambella, Oromia and Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples’ Region (SNNPR)...The Government of Ethiopia allocated nearly USD 2 million to tackle the problem. (FAO, 30 May 2017)
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. FAW was first detected in Central and Western Africa in early 2016 and later in Southern Africa (except Lesotho and the Island States). In 2017 it was detected in Eastern Africa and is expected to spread further. For the time being, its modality of introduction and its spread to Africa and adjustments of its bioecology are still speculative. A map on page 4 shows the spread of the pest to-date. (FAO, 30 June 2017)
- The month of June was characterized by poor rainfall performance coupled with intervals of sunny and dry weather conditions.
- The Vegetation Condition Index (VCI) was 46.6 indicating a normal vegetation condition.
- The water recharge levels and availability were below normal.
- Rainfall received during the month was depressed with a temporal distribution of 2-4 days. Compared to the normal for the same period, the cumulative rainfall for the 6-month period (January-June) for Nasukuta rainfall station amounts to only 81%.
- Slight improvement in the condition of vegetation was noted as evidenced by the shift in VCI-3month for the county to 32.2 from 25.02 in May. Pokot central & north remained most affected with a VCI-3-month of 27.06 & 29.91 respectively.
- No rain was received during the month.
- Vegetation condition index was below normal at 34.95.
- The state of water in main water points was declining and below normal.
The pest has affected 100,000 hectares of maize plantation, further threatening food security.
Uasin Gishu has trained its sights on intensive sensitisation programmes for farmers, especially those who grow maize during the off-seasons.
The ministry has approved at least nine chemicals for controlling the pest.
By STANLEY KIMUGE
Kenyan maize farmers in the North Rift are battling re-infestation of the fall armyworm that is threatening the country's food security.
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.
6 million People severely food insecure (IPC June-July 2017)
45 000 People facing famine conditions
>3.8 million People displaced by conflict
$70 million Requested under FAO Emergency Livelihood Response Plan
An outbreak of fall armyworm has been reported by the Government of South Sudan in the Equatoria region including Magwi, Yei and Juba, Northern Bahr el Gazal and parts of Jonglei area. Fall armyworm is a new pest in Africa, preferring maize plants, but feeds on sorghum, millet, vegetables and other crops as well. As maize and sorghum are staple foods in the country, the infestation is putting an increasing number of people at risk of hunger.
In Somalia there are unfavourable prospects for this year's main Gu crops, after the Gu rains were late and poorly distributed over most areas of the country. In the Lower Shabelle region, the main maize producing area, seasonal rainfall was about 50 per cent belowaverage with drought conditions currently affecting up to 85 per cent of the cropland.
The drought impact is particularly severe in Isiolo and parts of Wajir (West and South), Turkana and Tana River counties.
Nutrition surveys undertaken in June 2017 in Turkana indicate a deepening nutritional crisis compared to 5 months ago, with 3 of the 4 sub counties reporting acute malnutrition of greater than 30% and severe acute malnutrition ranging from 6-12%.
- The June to September main rainy season in northern areas of East Africa has so far been average to above average in most areas, supporting regeneration of pasture and favorable crop development. However, areas of central and southwestern Ethiopia, northeastern Uganda, and southwestern Kenya received below-average rainfall in June.
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.
Environmental conditions have improved on the previous month in some parts of the region, particularly at the coast, but the underlying recovery from the long rains has been limited. All but two pastoral counties report unusual livestock migration, and in two-thirds of counties the average distances to water and grazing are already longer than normal.
Number of people needing humanitarian assistance on the rise
14 July 2017, Rome - Poor rains across East Africa have worsened hunger and left crops scorched, pastures dry and thousands of livestock dead - according to an alert released today by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
The number of woredas (districts) requiring urgent humanitarian response has returned to levels not seen since the height of El Niño drought impacts in 2016, and have increased in terms of total number affected and those classified as Priority 1. Of the 461 current hotspots, nearly half (228) are considered top priority. From December 2016 to June 2017, the status of 102 woredas worsened while just 34 improved.
Summary of major revisions made to the Emergency Plan of Action
This update provides an overview on Kenya Red Cross Society actions for the first 6 months of response.
The Emergency Appeal has been revised twice. The first revision was as a result of the increased scope of drought increasing the appeal budget from 3.8 million Swiss Francs to 9.1 million Swiss Francs to support 340,786 people, an increase from 114,620 people.
↗ International wheat prices generally increased in June on quality concerns amid unfavourable growing conditions for the 2017 crops in some key producing countries. Export prices of maize remained generally unchanged, while rice quotations continued to increase mainly on account of strong demand.
Increase in need: 3.5 million people are now affected by drought, an increase from 2.7 million in May. The new statistics are a result of an assessment by the Kenya Food Security Steering Group covering 14 of the 23 arid and semi-arid lands counties. A total of Kshs. 11.1 billion (US $10.6 million) will be required for response measures between July and December 2017.
Rising needs: Following poor performing spring rains, the number of people receiving humanitarian assistance has increased from 5.6 million to 7.8 million in the first quarter of the year, and is expected to heighten further in the second half of the year. Increased funding is needed urgently, to address immediate requirements for food and nutrition, as well as clean drinking water.
• Germany contributes US$17.7 million to the Ethiopia Humanitarian Fund making it the largest contributor to the Fund in 2017
• Localized flooding due to heavy summer/kiremt rains projected to affect 1.5 million people, nearly 500,000 people likely to be displaced
• Fall Armyworm infestation is spreading to more woredas across six regions.
I. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY