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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Crops that feed 200 million people at risk from destructive march of fall armyworm, as agriculture experts call for urgent action
The crops that 200 million people rely on in Africa are under threat from a caterpillar that is spreading throughout the continent, agriculture experts have warned.
Read more on the Guardian.
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.
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.
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.
Note de l'auteur Cet article fait partie d’un projet spécial traitant des conséquences du changement climatique sur la sécurité alimentaire et sur les moyens de subsistance des petits paysans au Kenya, au Nigeria, au Sénégal et au Zimbabwe
HARARE, 14 septembre 2017
Mon frère est un agriculteur zimbabwéen qui s’en sortait plutôt bien, mais c’est aujourd’hui un homme inquiet. La saison dernière, un nuisible vorace a englouti une bonne partie de son maïs et il craint le pire pour la prochaine saison de croissance, qui commence en novembre.
Fall armyworm, or FAW, is new to Africa but has made an immediate impact. The caterpillar, originally from Latin America, was first detected in Nigeria in January 2016. By January 2017 it had reached South Africa – spreading officially to 24 countries within a year on a lightening journey down the continent.
Read more on IRIN.
Esther Ndumi Ngumbi, Research Fellow, Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology, Auburn University
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.
A recently arrived species of armyworm has spread to 21 African countries and threatens the continent's main food staple, maize, report experts from the U.S. Agency for International Development.
USAID senior biotechnology advisor Joseph Huesing says the fall armyworms -- transported from their usual habitat in the U.S. state of Florida or the Caribbean -- are attacking maize crops all over sub-Saharan Africa.
6 July 2017, Accra – At a Side Event of the 40th FAO Conference on the Fall Armyworm (FAW) held in Rome, the FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Africa, Bukar Tijani, announced that the Organization will host a global technical meeting of FAW experts from 18 to 20 July 2017 in Accra, Ghana, as part of the ongoing efforts led by FAO to curb the outbreak of FAW pests afflicting the agricultural sectors of a vast number of countries across the African continent.
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.