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
- FAO: El Niño 2018-19
- Crop Prospects and Food Situation, No. 4, December 2018
- Zimbabwe Food Security Outlook, December 2018 to May 2019
- 2018/2019 Lean Season Food Insecurity Response Plan (November 2018)
- The Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee (MVAC) Bulletin No. 15/18 Volume 1: Food Security Forecast for the 2018/2019 Consumption Year
• The Northern Region received normal to above while the Centre and South receive below normal rainfall.
• The Centre and South experienced prolonged dry spells averaging 2-4 weeks while the North experienced minimal dry spells in isolated places.
• Fall army worms infestations were reported in all districts but unlike last year control measures were spontaneous this season thus minimising impact.
• Maize production has dropped from 3.5million MT to 2.7 million MT representing 28%.
The third round of crop estimates assessment for the 2017/2018 season conducted by Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development indicated a maize production of 2,697,959 metric tons, 28.4% drop from 3,464,139 metric tons of 2016/2017 growing season.
The Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET) has warned that there is an increased probability of drought induced El Niño weather conditions expected in the Southern part of Africa; including Zimbabwe during the upcoming 2018/2019 agricultural season. Based on the El Niño forecast (Oct 2018-Jan 2019) and looking at similar trends in previous years, below-average rainfall and a late start of erratic rains will lead to crop failure.
The Climate Prediction Centre is predicting El Niño climatic conditions during the main 2018-19 growing season with 70-75% probability while IRI has increased the probability to more than 85%. Furthermore, the forecasts suggest a likelihood of a weak to moderate El Niño event. Historically El Niño climatic conditions have resulted in reduced rainfall across the southern part of Southern Africa.
High risk countries and potential impacts on food security and agriculture
In view of the potential impact of the 2018/19 El Niño on food security and agriculture, high risk countries in Southern Africa, Horn of Africa, Asia and the Pacific and Latin America should be prioritized for further monitoring, analysis and early action.
According to the IPC Analysis, as for June-September 2018, Lubombo region is classified in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) with 122 657 people or 25% of the population in Crisis conditions. Hhohho and Manzini regions are classified at Minimal level of food insecurity (IPC Phase 1), and Shiselweni region is classified at Stressed level (IPC Phase 2).
For Immediate Release
Tuesday, October 16, 2018 Office of Press Relations
Telephone: +1.202.712.4320 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
October 15, 2018
1.26 million people and 5 regions affected by rain shortfalls and failed harvests
The food security and nutritional situation is alarming due to failed harvests and rain shortfalls
Around 400,438 people are in IPC emergency phase and 860,883 people are in crisis phase, in the southern and south-eastern regions
WFP plans on reaching 849,000 people from this population
Fall Armyworm (FAW) arrived in Namibia during the 2016/2017 cropping season, following several years of difficulties for the agricultural sector caused by recurrent droughts. However, during the 2016/2017 season, weather conditions were generally favourable throughout most of the country – excluding the western and the southern regions.
• Despite an average maize harvest and an overall satisfactory supply outlook for 2018/19, the aggregate number of people affected by food insecurity has increased.
• Declining per capita maize production in the past ten years has heightened reliance on imports to satisfy consumption needs, increasing vulnerabilities to external shocks.
Cereal production declines in 2018, but the aggregate output remains near average
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.
About 1.26 million people are expected to be severely food insecure in the Grand Sud and Grand Sud-Est regions of Madagascar between July and September 2018, according to the results of the Integrated Phase Classification food insecurity analysis conducted in June 2018.
Feed the Future Enabling Environment for Food Security Project / Esther Ngumbi
This post was co-authored with Esther Ngumbi.