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
- Crop Prospects and Food Situation, No. 3, September 2018
- Malawi: Government to distribute over 430,000 bags of maize to food-insecure households
- Southern Africa El Niño/La Niña Situation Overview (30 September 2017)
- Southern Africa | Extended Dryness and Food Insecurity – ECHO Daily Map | 13/03/2018
- Fall Armyworm keeps spreading and becomes more destructive
Conflicts and climatic shocks aggravate current food insecurity in many countries
Some 39 countries in need of food assistance - FAO expects slightly lower global cereal production
20 September 2018, Rome - Persistent conflicts and climate-related shocks are currently driving high levels of severe food insecurity, particularly in Southern African and Near East countries, which continue to require humanitarian assistance, according to a new report published by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) today.
• The 2017-18 rainfall season was characterized by a late start, an extended mid-season dry spell (December-January) and heavy rains from February into April. The dry spell caused moisture stress and wilting of the early planted crops in many areas in Botswana, south-western Madagascar, southern Malawi, southern and some central parts of Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The **FAWRisk-Map** incorporates diverse socio-economic and agro-ecological data so that responders can visualise where the underlying risk of household **food insecurity** due to Fall Armyworm is highest. The tool consists of a number of layers allowing users to disaggregate risk into its constituent parts. By highlighting potential "hotspots", the tool is intended to assist decision-makers in prioritising and preparing for early action in targeted areas.
64 mt of food assistance distributed
US$1.13 m six months (Jun-Nov 2018) net funding requirements, representing 47% of total
35,548 people assisted in May 2018
- 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).
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.
- 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
In January 2018, WFP assisted almost 7,000 people through the Food by Prescription programme. Due to funding shortfalls, there are pipeline breaks for some commodities.
Assistance to Orphaned and Vulnerable Children (OVC) reached 55,500 beneficiaries in January 2017, which is more than planned as additional children were found to be attending an increased number of NCPs
HIV and Nutrition:
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.
• Overall humanitarian needs decrease as Southern Africa recovers from 2015/2016 El Niño-related drought conditions
• Tropical Cyclone Ava results in more than 50 deaths in Madagascar
• Recent analyses project mixed food security outcomes across Southern Africa through mid-2018
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.