Southern Africa: Armyworm Infestation - Jan 2017Ongoing
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)
Erratic rainfall, high temperatures and persistent Fall Armyworm infestation lower cereal crop production prospects for 2018 in southern Africa. (Food and Nutrition Security Working Group Feb 8 2018)
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05 April 2018, Harare - The Government of Japan has contributed US$ 500,000 to fight the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) and fall armyworm (FAW) in the Republic of Zimbabwe. The project, being rolled out this month, will be implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and working closely with the Government of Zimbabwe.
FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
Cereal production in 2018 forecast to fall slightly, due to dry weather conditions, but still exceed average
Maize meal prices down on yearly basis, mostly reflecting reduced prices in South Africa, country’s main source of grains
Food security conditions stable in most parts of country due to good output in 2017 but expected production decline in 2018 anticipated to aggravate situation in dry weather-affected areas
This quarterly update is compiled by OCHA ROSEA to support growth in innovative policy, practice and partnerships in humanitarian action to better engage with disaster-affected communities across Southern and Eastern Africa.
CwC News in Southern & Eastern Africa
FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
Cereal production in 2018 expected to decline to below-average level of around 3 million tonnes, mostly reflecting unfavourable rains
Maize prices rise seasonally at start of 2018, but remained below year-earlier levels on account of overall improved supply situation
Food security expected to worsen later in the year in specific areas affected by dry weather conditions
Production of maize forecast to fall in 2018
Southwestern Madagascar continues to feel effects of dryness
Cyclone Eliakim passed along the eastern coast of Madagascar in mid-March, damaging clove crops in Analanjirofo region during their flowering stage. Vanilla was less affected. Some severe flooding was reported by OCHA in ricefields in Maroantsetra, and less severe flooding in Mandritsara and Ambilobe.
Sorghum makes important contributions to national food supply in the counties covered in this report, accounting for the majority of grain production in Sudan, South Sudan and Somalia (82, 76 and 55 percent, respectively), and smaller amounts in Ethiopia and Uganda (18 and ten percent, accordingly). Sorghum accounts over half of grain consumption in South Sudan and Sudan and nine to 18 percent in Somalia, Ethiopia, and Uganda, respectively.
Malawi is experiencing the most severe prolonged dry spells and army worm infestation, which are threatening the agricultural production of 3.8 million people. With little or no rain in parts of the country and fall army worms still destroying crop fields, the outlook is alarming which will result in hunger for over 3.8 million people till the next planting season. Even before the prolonged dry spells, Malawi Government had declared a national disaster in December 2017 because of fall army worms.
Friday, 23 March 2018 13:30 GMT
Malawi declared the armyworms a national disaster in December after discovering the pests had spread to 22 of Malawi's 28 districts
Dry spell exacerbating risk to crop output
FEWS NET estimates 10 percent drop in 2017/18 crop
Farmers turn to neem tree for cheaper pesticide
By Frank Phiri
Unfavorable weather conditions, high temperatures, persistence of pest infestation, continued recovery from the 2015/2016 El Nino drought, are likely to have a negative impact on 2018 harvest and food security.
WFP food assistance programmes currently ongoing in central and southern provinces support many of the most vulnerable areas primarily through resilience programmes.
WFP launched its feedback and complaint mechanism with women operators in Gaza and Tete.
Food security outcomes expected to deteriorate earlier than usual in drought affected areas
The application is vital for early detection of Fall Armyworm and guiding best response
14 March 2018, Rome - FAO has launched a mobile application to enable farmers, agricultural workers and other partners at the frontline of the fight against Fall Armyworm in Africa to identify, report the level of infestation, and map the spread of this destructive insect, as well as to describe its natural enemies and the measures that are most effective in managing it.
Maize is the main staple and cereal crop. Maize crop failures in the region have historically had significant impact on food security.
Erratic rainfall, high temperatures and persistent Fall Armyworm infestation lower cereal crop production prospects for 2018 in Southern Africa.
COUNTRIES REQUIRING EXTERNAL ASSISTANCE FOR FOOD
FAO assesses that globally 37 countries are in need of external assistance for food.
Conflicts continue to be the main factor driving the high levels of severe food insecurity.
Weather shocks have also adversely impacted food availability and access, notably in East Africa.
- Intercropping maize with drought-resistant greenleaf desmodium and planting Brachiaria grass on the farm’s edge helps curb fall armyworms.
Researchers have found intercropping maize with drought-resistant greenleaf desmodium and planting Brachiaria grass on the farm’s edge helps curb fall armyworms.
Desmodium and Brachiaria grass are high quality animal fodder plants.
Significant production deficits in semiarid areas likely to lead to Crisis outcomes from June
Prolonged dry spells to reduce 2018 maize production prospects
Rainfall deficits in southwestern Madagascar and flooding in southeastern Madagascar disrupt agriculture
• The northern half of Madagascar received above average rainfall during the 2017/2018 rainy season 2017/2018 but the southern half received below average rainfall. A deficit was particularly seen in the southwest, including the Tsiribihini Delta production area that is a major food supplier to southern Madagascar, which received only 55 percent of average rainfall between October 2017 and February 2018.
Widespread February rains improve conditions among late-planted crops, but most early-planted crops in the south are lost
- 75% shortfall in rain in large parts of the region during January
- 14,732 cholera cases and 218 deaths reported since 2017
- 234,200 people affected by floods and cyclones in 2018
Dry weather conditions and high temperatures likely to reduce harvests in Southern Africa
FAO warns that food insecurity is set to rise again
26 February 2018, Rome - Poor rains and hot temperatures triggered water stress and adversely affected crop development in several areas of Southern Africa, FAO said today.
While cereal stocks in the region are ample, the spell of dry weather and erratic rains earlier in the season signals multiple risks to agricultural yields and may aggravate the impact of the Fall Armyworm pest.