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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In December, Malawi Government, in partnership with the UN and other partners, launched the 2017/18 Food Insecurity Response Plan to provide food assistance to 1,043,000 food insecure people in 20 of Malawi’s 28 districts between December 2017 and March 2018.
The Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee (MVAC) recommended provision of only cash-based assistance during this period. Apart from providing the food assistance, the response plan also prioritises implementation of resilience building interventions to break the cycle of hunger among the affected population.
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WFP is providing support to government through a secretariat established to organize a national conference and a workshop on disability.
700,000 families could be affected by dry spells and 1.2 million by fall army worm infestation
USD 1.8 million are urgently needed to sustain the food support provided to 32,175 refugees
420,000 people supported by WFP with cash-based transfers for the lean season response
132,000 households are currently enrolled in WFP Malawi’s resilience programme
In Focus: rising concerns on the 2018 harvest
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FAO launches guide to tackle Fall Armyworm in Africa head-on
16 February 2018, Rome - Faced with the infestation of millions of hectares of maize, most in the hands of smallholder farmers, and the relentless spread of Fall Armyworm (FAW) across most of Africa, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) launched today a comprehensive guide on the integrated pest management of the FAW on maize.
Fall Armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda), FAW, is an insect native to tropical and subtropical regions of the Americas. Its larval stage (photo) feeds on more than 80 plant species, including maize, rice, sorghum, millet, sugarcane, vegetable crops, and cotton. FAW can cause significant yield losses if not well managed. It can have a number of generations per year and the moth can fly up to 100 km per night. Its modality of introduction along with its biological and ecological adaptation across Africa are still speculative.
Early action crucial to avert crisis
09 February 2018, Johannesburg/Harare - Prolonged dry spells, erratic rainfall, high temperatures and the presence of the voracious fall armyworm have significantly dampened Southern Africa’s current agricultural season’s cereal production prospects. Early action in the form of consolidating information through assessments and anticipatory measures that reduce the impact of threats are crucial for an effective response.
JOHANNESBURG – The twin scourges of another prolonged dry spell and an invasive crop-eating worm are set to sharply curtail harvests across southern Africa, driving millions of people – most of them children – into severe hunger, warns the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP).
Food Security situation has improved significantly compared to 2015/16 cropping year
Onset of rains was normal and well distributed in central and southern areas. A few districts in the south experienced dry spell in the month of February.
Fall army worms attacked maize in all regions with varying intensity and the impact on production was not significant
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Malawi is experiencing the most severe prolonged dry spells and fall army worm infestation which have threatened agricultural production of 3.8 million people (Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Report 2018). With little or no rain still not falling in some parts of the country and fall army worms still destroying crop fields the outlook is alarming which will result in hunger to over 3.8 million people up to next growing season (Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Report 2018).
Erratic rainfall, high temperatures and persistent Fall Armyworm infestation lower cereal crop production prospects for 2018 in southern Africa.
In the absence of consistent rains for the remainder of the season, dry conditions experienced in December to January will further diminish water supplies for domestic, agricultural and commercial use.
These conditions are likely to have far reaching consequences on access to adequate food and nutrition and ability of farmers to produce in the 2018/19 consumption year.
Ongwediva-The Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry has warned that the country is likely to experience a second armyworm outbreak in a row, following last year’s one.
“According to the data that was collected from pheromone traps on the number of Fall Armyworm (FAW) moths, the data shows that FAW is still around and as soon as the host plants are available the moths will start producing egg masses on the plant leaves,” said the PS of agriculture, water and forestry, Percy Misika.
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