East Africa: Armyworm Infestation - Mar 2017Ongoing
As millions of east African farmers seek to recover from a devastating drought, they face a new threat – the fall armyworm. The pest has been recently detected in Kenya and is suspected to have entered the country from Uganda. It is also known to be present in Burundi, Ethiopia and Rwanda. The fall armyworm was first reported in western Kenya by farmers in March 2017, and immediately confirmed by the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service and Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation. The initial counties infested were Busia, TransNzoia, Bungoma, Uasin Gishu and Nandi. (FAO, 25 Apr 2017)
As of 23 May, Fall Armyworm has affected more than 143,000 hectares of land in major maize and wheat-producing counties [in Kenya]. [FAO] and the Ministry of Agriculture have adopted a planning response figure of 800,000 hectares, which requires US$33.5 million for pesticides and awareness campaigns in the medium term. US$6.6 million is required for an immediate response. (OCHA, UNCT Kenya, 23 May 2017)
In collaboration with [FAO] and other development partners, the Government of Ethiopia has intensified efforts to protect major maize growing areas from the ravage of the fall armyworm. The fall armyworm, which first arrived in Africa in 2016, was intercepted on a few hectares of irrigated maize fields in southern Ethiopia in the last week of February 2017. It has now covered about 52 962 hectares in 144 districts in three of the major maize-growing regional states – Gambella, Oromia and Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples’ Region (SNNPR)...The Government of Ethiopia allocated nearly USD 2 million to tackle the problem. (FAO, 30 May 2017)
[F]all armyworm, which has caused extensive damage to maize crops in southern Africa, has spread to the east and has worsened the situation. In Kenya, the pest has so far affected about 200 000 hectares of crops, and in Uganda more than half the country's 111 districts are affected. (FAO, 14 Jul 2017)
- The month of July was characterised by intervals of calm, cloudy and sunny weather condition with selective parts of the county receiving some showers of rainfall.
- No actual rainfall was recorded in all the rain gauge stations however, water level in rivers remained normal compared to the long term average. Vegetation cover across the County was normal with a reducing trend compared to the previous month.
- The month of July was largely dry with the exception of light rains around the Nyambene ranges and occasional morning drizzles in most rain-fed cropping and mixed farming livelihood zones.
- Natural vegetation is in good conditions in all livelihood zones. Forage was above average similar to the month of June.
- Rainfall: No rainfall was received across the livelihood zones in the month under review with exception of Marsabit Mountain and Moyale which received 7.4mm and 10.1mm respectively.
- Vegetation condition: 3-months Vegetation Condition Index for the month of July was 91.42 which falls under the above normal vegetation greenness strap. Forage condition is good across the livelihood zones.
- In the month of July, heavy to shallow rainfall spanning 0-7 days was recorded across Laikipia. The rainfall was generally poorly distributed in terms of time and space.
- The Vegetation Condition Index (VCI) is above the normal range for the period, indicating a good state of pasture and browse condition across most areas.
- The available pasture and browse is expected to last for at the least 2-3 months.
- No rainfall was received in July and this is normal.
- The vegetation condition was good and above the normal range.
- Crops at the farms were in fair condition and harvesting of the same was on-going.
- Livestock body condition ranged from good to fair for all the species with no abnormal cases of migration, diseases or death reported.
- Milk production was below normal.
Biophysical Indicators (Environmental indicators)
- Below normal rains were recorded during the month under review.
- The state of water sources was normal at this time of the year.
- The 3-month Vegetation Condition Index (VCI) in July recorded above normal vegetation greenness as compared to the long term mean at this time of the year.
- Both surface and underground water sources are still holding water due to above normal March – May rainfall. However reduction is expected to start in the next one month.
- Vegetation greenness was above the long term mean; pasture was good and is likely to remain so for the next two months.
Since mid-July, persistent and well above-average seasonal rains in Sudan caused significant levels of flooding. According to reports, over 45,000 people have been affected in West Kordofan, Kassala, El Gezira, Sennar, and Northern states. Meanwhile, large areas of western Ethiopia, southeastern South Sudan, and northern Uganda have experienced significant rainfall deficits for the past month, resulting in soil and crop moisture stress.
Drought Situation & EW Phase Classification
Water is adequately available. Both surface and underground water sources were adequately recharged during the long rains season.
The vegetation greenness was above the long term average for the month of June.
Livestock body condition was good and stable for all species; they are fat with smooth appearance.
Drought Situation & EW Phase Classification
The average amount of rainfall received in the month of June was normal compared to the long term average.
The water recharge level in rivers was normal compared to the long term average. Vegetation cover across the County was normal with an improving trend compared to the long term average due to high rainfall amount in the previous 3 months.
Socio Economic Indicators (Impact Indicators)
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.
Available harvests, low staple prices, and increased milk production improving food security
Feed the Future Enabling Environment for Food Security Project / Esther Ngumbi
This post was co-authored with Esther Ngumbi.
Many countries across the African continent face recurrent complex emergencies, frequent food insecurity, cyclical drought, and sudden-onset disasters, such as earthquakes, floods, and storms. In FY 2017, USAID/OFDA continued to respond to urgent needs resulting from disasters and support DRR programs that improve emergency preparedness and response capacity at local, national, and regional levels.
Above-average rainfall received in the north, with increasing risk of early season floods
Record-high rains continue to drive improvements but localized floods strain livelihoods
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.
A simple technique is saving farms from the crop-destroying pest
22 June 2018, Embu, KENYA - ‘With a good harvest, we have enough maize for ourselves, and then some to sell. But right now we have to buy the maize to feed the family,' says Agnes Waithira Muli, a smallholder farmer in Embu county in central Kenya. She and her husband lost most of their last crop due to Fall Armyworm (FAW), a potentially devastating insect pest that has spread across much of Africa.
Humanitarian Situation and Needs