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)
Most read (last 30 days)
- Integrated management of the Fall Armyworm on maize. A guide for Farmer Field Schools in Africa
- Crop munching pest in Africa raises hunger threat
- Special alert No. 1: Food and Nutrition Security Working Group Southern Africa (8 February 2018)
- Fall Armyworm in Africa: A Guide for Integrated Pest Management
- USAID-OFDA Agriculture and Food Security Sector Update, Fiscal Year 2017
WFP is providing leadership to craft strategies on how the UNCT will support the Government in achieving its development priorities.
WFP supported the Government through the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) to produce the Food and Nutrition Security Monitoring report which analyses the vulnerability and livelihoods in rural areas.
WFP is providing support to government through a secretariat established to organize a national conference and a workshop on disability.
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.
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.
In the six northern regions affected by floods in 2017, UNICEFsupported Community Health Workers (CHWs) have reached 4,800 children under five with nutrition screening, of which 1,138 children were treated for severe or moderate acute malnutrition. Improved reporting has identified 148 deaths related to malnutrition, and UNICEF has supported the development of the Emergency Nutrition Action Plan which was been submitted for Government funding in December 2017.
Dry conditions intensified in the southern half of the region, threatening production prospects in several areas. Abnormally high temperatures accompanied these dry conditions. Short term rainfall forecasts suggest little respite in the near-term.
Good rains were received in the northern half of the region, promoting good crop conditions.
A cyclone made landfall in Madagascar, causing fatalities, displacement of populations, damage to infrastructure and flooding of thousands of hectares planted to rice.
- Good rains were received in the northern half of the region.
- Low rainfall in the southern half of the region led to delays in planting and crop moisture stress in some areas.
- Vegetation conditions deteriorated in southern and eastern parts of the region.
- A fall armyworm outbreak has affected 20 out of 28 districts in Malawi.
- Onset of seasonal rains is delayed in parts of South Africa and Lesotho
- Rainfall season has started on time in northern parts of the region, and most other areas are expected to experience onset of rains in November
- Integrated pest management strategies have been recommended for countering fall armyworm outbreaks
1. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Southern Africa continues to recover from the 2015/2016 El Niño-induced drought, which by January 2017 had affected about 41 million people across the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC)1. The substantial government- and SADC-led response, supported by $900 million from the international humanitarian community2, empowered farmers to take advantage of a good 2016/2017 rainfall season, delivering an April 2017 cereal harvest 3 per cent above the 5-year average.
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.
ANIMAL DISEASES THAT ALSO AFFECT HUMANS
Zoonoses are diseases that are naturally transmissible between animals and humans. It is estimated that about 60 percent of known human infectious diseases originate from animals, and that 75 percent of newly emerging diseases affecting humans are zoonotic, with most coming from wildlife. Zoonoses can cause severe and potentially fatal illness in animals and humans, as well as serious epidemics and pandemics.
Vulnerable populations in six Southern African countries will likely require humanitarian assistance through mid-2018
FAW infestations reported in at least eight Southern Africa countries
USAID/FFP provides nearly $47 million in additional funding to improve food security throughout the region
The 2015–2016 El Niño phenomenon resulted in the worst drought in 35 years for much of southern Africa.
In the eight most-affected countries (Angola, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia,
Swaziland and Zimbabwe), an estimated 16.1 million people required assistance between December 2016 and March 2017, including some 5 million children who required urgent humanitarian assistance.
By Miriam Gathigah
NAIROBI, Oct 12 2017 (IPS) - A growing number of African countries are increasingly becoming food insecure as delayed and insufficient rainfall, as well as crop damaging pests such as the ongoing outbreak of the fall armyworm, cause the most severe maize crisis in the last decade.
Experts have warned that as weather patterns become even more erratic and important crops such as maize are unable to resist the fall armyworm infestation, there will not be enough food on the table.
The Bulletin highlights outbreaks of transboundary pests and diseases that have the potential to impact food and nutrition security in Southern Africa. It also captures recently concluded and upcoming events that are being organized by Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and stakeholders to improve the capacities of partners in preparedness and response to crop and livestock emergencies in the region.
FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
Cereal production recovers strongly in 2017 to above-average level, mostly reflecting improved weather conditions
Maize meal prices decline to lower year-on-year levels, mainly reflecting reduced import costs and improved supply situation
Food security conditions improve in 2017/18
Cereal production recovers in 2017
• UNICEF provided eight water tanker trucks to the Government of Namibia to support water-stressed communities in seven drought-affected regions. UNICEF also provided 15,000 bednets in support of the malaria outbreak response which has affected more than 11,900 people in the first quarter of 2017.
Regional main staples prices mostly declined, and were below their respective 2016 levels in most areas except Tanzania. Most WFP monitored markets showed normal price level in April and May for maize and maize meal reflecting increased availability. Zambia maize prices increased on average probably in anticipation of a higher price floor to bet set by the government in the coming weeks.