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
- Crop Prospects and Food Situation, No. 3, September 2018
- Africa Regional Media Hub Press Briefing on World Food Day with USAID Bureau for Food Security Assistant Administrator Beth Dunford and USAID Food for Peace Director Matt Nims via Teleconference
- Southern Africa El Niño/La Niña Situation Overview (30 September 2017)
- Eswatini: Acute Food Insecurity Situation in June 2018 and Projections for October 2018 - February 2019
- Mozambique: Acute Food Insecurity Situation (April - September 2018) [EN/PT]
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.
The **FAWRisk-Map** incorporates diverse socio-economic and agro-ecological data so that responders can visualise where the underlying risk of household **food insecurity** due to Fall Armyworm is highest. The tool consists of a number of layers allowing users to disaggregate risk into its constituent parts. By highlighting potential "hotspots", the tool is intended to assist decision-makers in prioritising and preparing for early action in targeted areas.
FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
Maize production in 2018 forecast at above-average level, but set to decline on yearly basis reflecting dry weather conditions in southern and central parts
National maize supplies forecast to be generally adequate in 2018/19 marketing year (April/March) on account of larger opening stocks and above-average output
Prices of maize remained mostly stable in 2018 and lower on yearly basis
27 June 2018, Rome - Fall Armyworm keeps spreading to larger areas within countries in sub-Saharan Africa and becomes more destructive as it feeds on more crops and different parts of crops, increasingly growing an appetite for sorghum, in addition to maize. The pest could spread to Northern Africa, Southern Europe and the Near East, warned the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) today. The agency called for a massive scaling up of the Fall Armyworm campaign to involve more than 500 000 farmers in sub-Saharan Africa.
The United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization and Pennsylvania State University joined forces to develop and launch an innovative, talking app - Nuru - to help African farmers recognize Fall Armyworm, a new and fast-spreading crop pest in sub-Saharan Africa, so that they can take immediate steps to destroy it and curb its spread.
Cereal production during the upcoming harvest season in Southern Africa is expected to be below average, despite the heavy late rains, which benefitted the late planted crops. This is due to a late start of the rainy season, minimal to no rains during the critical planting season (December -January), high temperatures and the prevalence of Fall Armyworm (FAW).
The Early Warning Early Action initiative has been developed with the understanding that disaster losses and emergency response costs can be drastically reduced by using early warning analysis to act before a crisis escalates into an emergency.
Early actions strengthen the resilience of at-risk populations, mitigate the impact of disasters and help communities, governments and national and international humanitarian agencies to respond more effectively and efficiently
José Graziano da Silva,
05 April 2018, Harare - The Government of Japan has contributed US$ 500,000 to fight the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) and fall armyworm (FAW) in the Republic of Zimbabwe. The project, being rolled out this month, will be implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and working closely with the Government of Zimbabwe.
FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
Cereal production in 2018 forecast to fall slightly, due to dry weather conditions, but still exceed average
Maize meal prices down on yearly basis, mostly reflecting reduced prices in South Africa, country’s main source of grains
Food security conditions stable in most parts of country due to good output in 2017 but expected production decline in 2018 anticipated to aggravate situation in dry weather-affected areas
FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
Cereal production in 2018 expected to decline to below-average level of around 3 million tonnes, mostly reflecting unfavourable rains
Maize prices rise seasonally at start of 2018, but remained below year-earlier levels on account of overall improved supply situation
Food security expected to worsen later in the year in specific areas affected by dry weather conditions
Production of maize forecast to fall in 2018
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.
Dry weather conditions and high temperatures likely to reduce harvests in Southern Africa
FAO warns that food insecurity is set to rise again
26 February 2018, Rome - Poor rains and hot temperatures triggered water stress and adversely affected crop development in several areas of Southern Africa, FAO said today.
While cereal stocks in the region are ample, the spell of dry weather and erratic rains earlier in the season signals multiple risks to agricultural yields and may aggravate the impact of the Fall Armyworm pest.
FAO Director-General: explore opportunities along the food chain, including urban food markets
22 February 2018, Khartoum - Agriculture will continue to generate employment in Africa over the coming decades, but opportunities should be explored beyond agriculture throughout the food chain in order to create enough jobs for young people, especially those in rural areas, FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva said today.
FAO launches guide to tackle Fall Armyworm in Africa head-on
16 February 2018, Rome - Faced with the infestation of millions of hectares of maize, most in the hands of smallholder farmers, and the relentless spread of Fall Armyworm (FAW) across most of Africa, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) launched today a comprehensive guide on the integrated pest management of the FAW on maize.
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.
Early action crucial to avert crisis
09 February 2018, Johannesburg/Harare - Prolonged dry spells, erratic rainfall, high temperatures and the presence of the voracious fall armyworm have significantly dampened Southern Africa’s current agricultural season’s cereal production prospects. Early action in the form of consolidating information through assessments and anticipatory measures that reduce the impact of threats are crucial for an effective response.