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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Food availability and access largely remain favorable across Mozambique
ANIMAL DISEASES THAT ALSO AFFECT HUMANS
Zoonoses are diseases that are naturally transmissible between animals and humans. It is estimated that about 60 percent of known human infectious diseases originate from animals, and that 75 percent of newly emerging diseases affecting humans are zoonotic, with most coming from wildlife. Zoonoses can cause severe and potentially fatal illness in animals and humans, as well as serious epidemics and pandemics.
Countries with confirmed outbreaks can face import bans on their agricultural products because armyworm is classified as a quarantine pest
CAPE TOWN, Nov 9 (Reuters) - South Africa has managed to control an outbreak of fall armyworm pests, which were first detected in January and mainly threatened maize crops, the agriculture minister said on Thursday.
Read more on the Thomson Reuters Foundation
FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
Planting of 2018 cereal crops underway
Cereal production in 2017 rebounded strongly, mostly resulting from beneficial weather conditions
Maize prices well below year-earlier levels, reflecting favourable supply situation
Food security situation improved significantly, with food insecure numbers falling by 87 percent on yearly basis
Planting of 2018 crops underway
Below-average household incomes to affect food access as prices increase
Minimal acute food insecurity outcomes expected to continue
Overall favorable food security conditions to prevail across the country until the next harvest
Generally favorable food security outcomes expected through May 2018
The normal to above normal 2016/17 rainfall season, coming after a devastating El Nino induced drought, coupled with support from both Government and Private sector through the Special Maize Programme as well as other supportive initiatives such as contract farming had a positive impact on the agriculture sector.
Heavy rains caused flooding in some areas, which was exacerbated by Cyclone Dineo in February 2017. This led to an increase in diseases such as diarrhea and malaria in some areas.
Higher rainfall compared to the previous season resulted in improved crop and livestock production, thereby significantly reducing households’ vulnerability to food insecurity.
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.
Vulnerable populations in six Southern African countries will likely require humanitarian assistance through mid-2018
FAW infestations reported in at least eight Southern Africa countries
USAID/FFP provides nearly $47 million in additional funding to improve food security throughout the region
The 2015–2016 El Niño phenomenon resulted in the worst drought in 35 years for much of southern Africa.
In the eight most-affected countries (Angola, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia,
Swaziland and Zimbabwe), an estimated 16.1 million people required assistance between December 2016 and March 2017, including some 5 million children who required urgent humanitarian assistance.