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)
Most read (last 30 days)
- Crop Prospects and Food Situation, No. 1 March 2018
- FAO/GIEWS Special Alert No. 343: Southern Africa, 26 February 2018
- Southern Africa: Humanitarian Snapshot (as of 26 February 2018)
- Madagascar Food Security Outlook, February to September 2018
- Southern Africa | Extended Dryness and Food Insecurity – ECHO Daily Map | 13/03/2018
Food security outcomes expected to deteriorate earlier than usual in drought affected areas
Maize is the main staple and cereal crop. Maize crop failures in the region have historically had significant impact on food security.
Erratic rainfall, high temperatures and persistent Fall Armyworm infestation lower cereal crop production prospects for 2018 in Southern Africa.
Significant production deficits in semiarid areas likely to lead to Crisis outcomes from June
Prolonged dry spells to reduce 2018 maize production prospects
Rainfall deficits in southwestern Madagascar and flooding in southeastern Madagascar disrupt agriculture
• The northern half of Madagascar received above average rainfall during the 2017/2018 rainy season 2017/2018 but the southern half received below average rainfall. A deficit was particularly seen in the southwest, including the Tsiribihini Delta production area that is a major food supplier to southern Madagascar, which received only 55 percent of average rainfall between October 2017 and February 2018.
Widespread February rains improve conditions among late-planted crops, but most early-planted crops in the south are lost
Food Security situation has improved significantly compared to 2015/16 cropping year
Onset of rains was normal and well distributed in central and southern areas. A few districts in the south experienced dry spell in the month of February.
Fall army worms attacked maize in all regions with varying intensity and the impact on production was not significant
Tobacco production has continued to decline due to low prices being offered by buyers.
Erratic rainfall, high temperatures and persistent Fall Armyworm infestation lower cereal crop production prospects for 2018 in southern Africa.
In the absence of consistent rains for the remainder of the season, dry conditions experienced in December to January will further diminish water supplies for domestic, agricultural and commercial use.
These conditions are likely to have far reaching consequences on access to adequate food and nutrition and ability of farmers to produce in the 2018/19 consumption year.
• Overall humanitarian needs decrease as Southern Africa recovers from 2015/2016 El Niño-related drought conditions
• Tropical Cyclone Ava results in more than 50 deaths in Madagascar
• Recent analyses project mixed food security outcomes across Southern Africa through mid-2018
Dry conditions intensified in the southern half of the region, threatening production prospects in several areas. Abnormally high temperatures accompanied these dry conditions. Short term rainfall forecasts suggest little respite in the near-term.
Good rains were received in the northern half of the region, promoting good crop conditions.
A cyclone made landfall in Madagascar, causing fatalities, displacement of populations, damage to infrastructure and flooding of thousands of hectares planted to rice.
Mixed seasonal rainfall could result in reduced crop yields
Presidency assures affected families of unrelenting support
DoDMA provides relief items
A cumulative total of 698 households have been critically affected by rainstorms and strong winds that struck most parts of Traditional Authorities Kachenga, Msamala, Sawali, and Nkaya in Balaka District; on Tuesday.
Adding salt to injury, the rampant fall armyworms have affected 19,000 of the 53,000 cultivated hectares of land, representing a total of 39 per cent.
On time start of the rainy season with near to above average rainfall levels
Most areas have received above normal rainfall, except for parts of southern Malawi
Below normal rains received across the bulk of the country during the first half of the season
- Good rains were received in the northern half of the region.
- Low rainfall in the southern half of the region led to delays in planting and crop moisture stress in some areas.
- Vegetation conditions deteriorated in southern and eastern parts of the region.
- A fall armyworm outbreak has affected 20 out of 28 districts in Malawi.
Poor households in Chemba District are likely facing Crisis outcomes
Despite the peak of the lean season, Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes are expected to persist countrywide, except in the interior and remote areas of Chemba District in Sofala Province where poor households are likely facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3). In nearby districts of Mutarara, Doa, and Moatize in Tete Province, Caia in Sofala Province, and Tambara in Manica Province, Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes are likely to continue until the April harvest.