Southern Africa: Armyworm Infestation - Jan 2017Alert
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)
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- 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.
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.
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.
African countries are facing a maize shortage and losses running into billions of dollars due to the devastation caused by the fall armyworm.
A new report released by the Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International (Cabi) shows that improper management of the armyworm could cost 10 of the continent’s major maize producing economies between $2.2 billion and $5.5 billion per year in lost maize harvests.
Improved maize supplies drove national maize and maize meal prices further down in July in all the monitored countries except South Africa (SA) where prices increased by roughly 6 percent. Moreover, national prices were considerably below their respective 5 year aver-age (5YA) except Tanzania, Lesotho and Swaziland.
- This report summarizes the supply and market outlook for maize grain in the east African countries of Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan, Rwanda, and Burundi. The outlook period follows the 2017/18 marketing year (MY), spanning from July 2017 to June 2018 and covering two main harvests—the 2017 June-to-August harvest and the 2017/2018 October-to-February harvest. While the June-to-August harvest data estimates are more reliable, the October-to-February harvests are projected and may be updated as data becomes available.
The Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) monitors trends in staple food prices in countries at risk of food insecurity. The Price Watch provides an update on market and price trends in selected reference markets. Specific trends for key reference markets and commodities are available in the Price Watch Annexes 1 and 2.
FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
Maize production for 2017 tentatively forecast at 5.5 million tonnes, 3 percent below average of previous five years
Reduced output mainly reflects poor rains in some central and northern areas
Maize prices declined from record highs in April, but still at high levels
Food insecurity persists in northern areas as a result of reduced 2017 “masika” harvest
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.
By Busani Bafana
BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe, Jul 18 2017 (IPS)
Southern African countries have agreed on a multi-pronged plan to increase surveillance and research to contain the fall army worm, which has cut forecast regional maize harvests by up to ten percent, according to a senior U.N. Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) official.
Fall Armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda), FAW, is an insect pest that feeds on more than 80 crop species, causing damage to economically important cultivated cereals such as maize, rice, sorghum, and also to legumes as well as vegetable crops and cotton.
Regional main staples prices mostly declined, and were below their respective 2016 levels in most areas. Malawi and Mozambique saw significant month-on-month (m-o-m) price decline of white maize. Zambia registered the highest drop in the number of markets in ALPS Crisis mode reflecting increased availability.
Katelyn Faulkner, Postdoctoral research fellow, University of Pretoria
Brett Hurley, Senior Lecturer Zoology and Entomology, University of Pretoria
Mark Robertson, Associate Professor Zoology & Entomology, University of Pretoria
This article is the first in a series The Conversation Africa is running on invasive species.