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. (Southern Africa Food and Nutrition Security Working Group, 8 Feb 2018)
The region has been experiencing the impacts of the Fall Armyworm (FAW) since late 2016 with reports of infestations in all countries (except Lesotho and Mauritius)...Case studies conducted in 2017 in Zambia and Mozambique indicated farmer perceptions of localized FAW incidences ranging between 25%-50% and 5%-77% respectively, with a marginal impact to date. (Southern Africa Food and Nutrition Security Working Group, 29 Aug 2018)
Most read reports
- Early action to protect and enhance the livelihoods of drought-affected smallholder farmers in Malawi against the lingering 2018/2019 El Niño event
- FAO in the 2019 humanitarian appeal: 2018/19 El Niño Response Plan for Southern Africa
- Southern Africa | Extended Dryness and Food Insecurity – ECHO Daily Map | 13/03/2018
- Southern Africa: Humanitarian Snapshot (as of 26 February 2018)
- FAO: El Niño 2018-19
Malawi is among the most climate-fragile countries in the world, ranking 105 out of 113 countries based on the 2016 Global Food Security Index. Agriculture remains the country’s mainstay, largely supporting most of its rural population with the sector contributing to about one third of its GDP. Since 2015, back-to-back El Niño/La Niña episodes affected the food security of more than 8 million people.
4.9 million people
USD 67.9 million
December 2018 to December 2019
253.1 mt of food assistance distributed
US$ 11.27 m six months (January-June 2019) net funding requirements, representing 93% of total
54,280 people assisted in December 2018
HIV and Nutrition:
ETUNDA - Farmers at Etunda village, south of Epalela in Omusati Region, fear that if it fails to rain many households will suffer food insecurity and many people, mostly the youth, will lose their income.
Normally households situated alongside Etaka dam, a man-made dam which supplies Etunda village with water throughout the year, are food secure.
Among the farms alongside Etaka dam is the Nakayale Private Academy and Agricultural Project, a farm managed by two women, Marlize Erasmus and Martina Makuwa fondly known by her community as meme Makuwa.
Overview of the crisis
Mozambique is facing significant pockets of severe food insecurity, mainly due to poor rainfall and the fall army worm (FAW) invasion, which have contributed to reduced crop production, particularly of maize. The drought is also causing increased levels of malnutrition, water scarcity and school drop-outs, as well as heightening the risk of communicable diseases and of exacerbating HIV rates.
Dr Melanie Bateman, Lecturer in ICM Masters programme jointly-organised by CABI, University of Neuchâtel
La production nationale de riz (paddy) est estimée à environ 3,3 millions de tonnes en 2018, soit 9 pour cent de plus que la maigre récolte de 2017, mais toujours 8 pour cent de moins que la moyenne quinquennale (2013-2017).
Humanitarian assistance to ease Emergency (IPC Phase 4) in Beloha District in January 2019
• The first rains favorable for agriculture fell in November across most of Madagascar allowing farmers to start the new cropping season on time. Below average rainfall was recorded across the western half of the country between October and November 2018 but it will likely not affect staple crop production.
Below-average rainfall will likely affect the 2018/19 season in southern and parts of central regions
Crisis (IPC Phase3) outcomes will likely persist through the lean season
Economic challenges and anticipated below-average rainfall to impact poor household food access
• The Northern Region received normal to above while the Centre and South receive below normal rainfall.
• The Centre and South experienced prolonged dry spells averaging 2-4 weeks while the North experienced minimal dry spells in isolated places.
• Fall army worms infestations were reported in all districts but unlike last year control measures were spontaneous this season thus minimising impact.
• Maize production has dropped from 3.5million MT to 2.7 million MT representing 28%.
A sharp increase in maize grain prices as the lean season progresses.
Prices of maize grain increased sharply on the local markets in the fourth week of November, signalling supply constraints induced by the below-average production due to fall armyworm and prolonged dry spells in the 2017/18 season
The weekly average price of MK 144 per kilogram is 55 percent higher than a year earlier and 7 percent higher than the five-year average.
The third round of crop estimates assessment for the 2017/2018 season conducted by Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development indicated a maize production of 2,697,959 metric tons, 28.4% drop from 3,464,139 metric tons of 2016/2017 growing season.
The Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET) has warned that there is an increased probability of drought induced El Niño weather conditions expected in the Southern part of Africa; including Zimbabwe during the upcoming 2018/2019 agricultural season. Based on the El Niño forecast (Oct 2018-Jan 2019) and looking at similar trends in previous years, below-average rainfall and a late start of erratic rains will lead to crop failure.
237mt of food assistance distributed
US$2.25 m six months (Aug 2018-Jan 2019) net funding requirements, representing 63% of total requirements
54,278 people assisted in August 2018
HIV and Nutrition:
As predictions for El Niño reach 83 percent, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has begun preparing for its potential impact on the upcoming planting season across Southern Africa with a recent workshop in Johannesburg.
The Climate Prediction Centre is predicting El Niño climatic conditions during the main 2018-19 growing season with 70-75% probability while IRI has increased the probability to more than 85%. Furthermore, the forecasts suggest a likelihood of a weak to moderate El Niño event. Historically El Niño climatic conditions have resulted in reduced rainfall across the southern part of Southern Africa.
High risk countries and potential impacts on food security and agriculture
In view of the potential impact of the 2018/19 El Niño on food security and agriculture, high risk countries in Southern Africa, Horn of Africa, Asia and the Pacific and Latin America should be prioritized for further monitoring, analysis and early action.