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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Household food security expected to improve with prospects of improved harvests region wide
Armyworm spread has undermined hopes for a better harvest this year, with swathes of southern, eastern and western Africa infested
By Umberto Bacchi
ROME, April 28 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The fall armyworm - which decimates fields as it marches ever forward - has spread to Angola as the caterpillar eats its way through southern Africa, a U.N. agency said.
The start of the harvest improves acute food insecurity in the southern and central regions
The start of the main harvest in the south and some parts of the central region is contributing to Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food security outcomes across most of the country. However, some populations in Nsanje and Karonga district are facing Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food security outcomes, in the absence of humanitarian assistance. These projected outcomes are expected through September 2017.
• Improved vegetation conditions across Southern Africa increase likelihood of aboveaverage harvests
• USAID partners provide assistance to cyclone- and drought-affected populations
• USAID/OFDA provides nearly $1.6 million to UNICEF to help address nutrition and WASH needs in southern Madagascar
In March, WFP scaled up the cash based transfer component significantly reaching 114,056 people, while 88,580 are receiving in-kind rations in March/April.
WFP’s Food by Prescription project remains underfunded. While the distribution of household rations resumed in November 2016, pipeline breaks are expected in June 2017.
Drought and Food Security:
On 3 March 2017, Namibia celebrated Africa Day for School Feeding. The Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture in partnership with WFP and sponsors from the private sector commemorated the day at Hillside Primary School in Goreangab Dam, Windhoek. This day was celebrated to raise awareness of school feeding as an important food safety net for protection against hunger and investment in the education of children.
Maize price trends were mixed in February in the region. Tanzania and the DRC saw significant month-on-month (m-o-m) price increase of their main staple. Zambia and especially Tanzania registered the highest increase in the number of markets in ALPS Crisis.
This report is jointly produced by the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA), Government of Malawi, the United Nations Office of the Resident Coordinator and humanitarian partners in Malawi.
• In May 2016, the Malawi Vulnerability Annual Assessment Committee (MVAC) revealed that 6.5 million people, about 39% of the total population was at risk of food insecurity in 24 of the 28 districts. However, in October 2016, a field assessment to update the situation reported that the number had increased to 6.7 million people.
Food security has improved thanks to humanitarian assistance and the early harvest
Food prices have dropped due to reduced market demand as households start to consume their own produce
Households headed by women were more likely to resort to negative coping strategies than those headed by men
- Households are increasingly resorting to negative coping strategies
- A larger share of households have inadequate food consumption across the country
- Food retail prices are generally stable, with sugar beans cheaper than in February
- Traders continue to report that poor roads are limiting their businesses
- Bean and groundnut prices have fallen as households are consuming home grown legumes
- Dietary diversity is worst in Eastern province
- Dietary diversity is similar between households receiving food assistance and those who are not
- Maize prices have risen in Nakonde (Muchinga province), Mansa (Luapula province), Choma (Southern province) and Lundazi (Eastern province)
It was first detected in Africa barely a year ago, yet the fall armyworm, a type of caterpillar whose name derives from its tendency to maraud in vast numbers, has already infested hundreds of thousands of hectares of maize across more than a dozen countries on the continent, presenting a serious threat to food security.
Food security outcomes to improve due to average national harvest prospects
Despite the Minister of Agriculture’s maize export ban on commercial traders, exports of maize through WFP’s humanitarian window continues. As of 28 February, cumulative tonnage dispatches (13,000 mt contract) was 5,348 mt.
FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
Cereal production in 2017 forecast at near-average levels
Imports of maize increase in 2016/17 marketing year to compensate for reduced 2016 harvest
National average maize price declined at the start of 2017, but remained at high levels
Food security situation expected to improve in 2017 on account of expected average harvest following sharp deterioration in 2016
Maize production in 2017 expected to rebound to average levels
WFP assisted 153,000 drought affected people with emergency food rations (123,000 people) and Cash-Based Transfers (CBT) (30,000 people). WFP will scale up assistance to reach up to 233,000 people in March.
The Ministry of Agriculture has reported the presence of fall armyworm in the country, however the extent of impact is not yet known. A pre-harvest assessment is ongoing in March.
The current rainy season (November to April 2017) has brought steady rainfall and relieved some effects of El Niño, but has resulted in flooding, school closures and the relocation of 1,092 people, especially in the northern regions. The Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF) have warned of possible flooding in north-central Namibia. Regional institutions have been alerted and are putting contingency measures in place.
Outbreaks of Fall Armyworm, Spodoptera frugiperda, have been reported in DRC, Zambia, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Botswana, South Africa, Namibia, Swaziland, Ghana and Kenya. Regionally, around 330,000 hectares of staple crops, especially maize, have been affected. The remaining southern African mainland countries remain at high risk (OCHA 27/02/2017).