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)
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Feed the Future Enabling Environment for Food Security Project / Esther Ngumbi
This post was co-authored with Esther Ngumbi.
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CwC News in Southern & Eastern Africa
Sorghum makes important contributions to national food supply in the counties covered in this report, accounting for the majority of grain production in Sudan, South Sudan and Somalia (82, 76 and 55 percent, respectively), and smaller amounts in Ethiopia and Uganda (18 and ten percent, accordingly). Sorghum accounts over half of grain consumption in South Sudan and Sudan and nine to 18 percent in Somalia, Ethiopia, and Uganda, respectively.
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.
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.
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.
Pays nécessitant une aide alimentaire extérieure
Strong cereal harvests are keeping global food supplies buoyant, but localised drought, flooding and protracted conflicts have intensified and perpetuated food insecurity, according to the new edition of FAO's Crop Prospects and Food Situation report. Some 37 countries, 29 of which are in Africa, require external assistance for food, according to the report.
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.
The world’s anti-hunger organizations have an opportunity to prevent widespread destruction of African crops by stopping the spread of an insect, warn three of the most respected thinkers on international agriculture.
However, the international community must act swiftly, in cooperation, and on a large scale to do so. The fall armyworm reportedly has a foothold in 28 nations in Africa, and it feeds on crops that include maize, which more than 200 million Africans depend on for food security.
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.
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.
Conflicts drag down food security amid growing global food output
FAO report notes rebounding harvests in most low-income food-deficit countries
21 September 2017, Rome-- Robust harvests in Latin America and rebounding agricultural conditions in Southern Africa are on course to improve the global food supply situation, but ongoing civil conflicts and climate-related shocks are affecting progress towards hunger reduction, according to the new edition of FAO's Crop Prospects and Food Situation report.