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)
35,272 refugees benefited from general food distribution in Luwani and Dzaleka camps
884,522 children benefiting from school meals in 13 food insecure districts
88,000 people suffering from acute malnutrition received nutrition treatment
3,500 mt of food assistance distributed
by Charles Mkoka | @chamkoka | Thomson Reuters Foundation
Thursday, 24 May 2018 03:01 GMT
Crop storage bags help cut losses after harvest, protecting food supplies, income and seeds for next season
LILONGWE, May 24 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The harvest months of May and June should be a period of relief for Malawi's farmers, as they finally reap their crops after battling a prolonged dry spell, attacks by armyworm pests and flooding in some areas.
- Most of Southern Africa experienced erratic rainfall, delayed start of rainy season and extended midseason dry-spell from December to February which have wilted early planted crops in the region.
- In March 2018, significant rainfall was received in central and eastern parts of South Africa.
Cereal production during the upcoming harvest season in Southern Africa is expected to be below average, despite the heavy late rains, which benefitted the late planted crops. This is due to a late start of the rainy season, minimal to no rains during the critical planting season (December -January), high temperatures and the prevalence of Fall Armyworm (FAW).
Minimal (IPC Phase 1) area outcomes are projected for most of the outlook period
The Early Warning Early Action initiative has been developed with the understanding that disaster losses and emergency response costs can be drastically reduced by using early warning analysis to act before a crisis escalates into an emergency.
Early actions strengthen the resilience of at-risk populations, mitigate the impact of disasters and help communities, governments and national and international humanitarian agencies to respond more effectively and efficiently
José Graziano da Silva,
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
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
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.
Prolonged dry spells to reduce 2018 maize production prospects
- 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.
By Charles Mkoka
DEDZA, Malawi, Feb 26 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Armed with fish soup and neem leaves, as well as chemical pesticides, Malawi's drought-hit farmers are fighting a caterpillar that is devouring their crops and putting them at risk of hunger.
The fall armyworm, an invasive Latin American species that is harder to detect and eradicate than its African counterpart, has attacked maize plants covering one fifth of Malawi's arable land, according to the Ministry of Agriculture.
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.
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
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.