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)
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Rains intensify across the region in late April, early May
Late season rains intensified across the region during the past several weeks, reducing rainfall deficits across some drought-affected areas of the Eastern Horn. While these rains are likely to contribute to improvements in cropping prospects and pasture and water availability in some areas, flooding has already resulted in damage in localized areas of Kenya, and may affect parts of Ethiopia and southern Somalia in the coming weeks.
• The persistent drought in the lowland areas of Ethiopia has increased the vulnerability of the population prompting the government to revise the number of people requiring emergency food aid from 5.6 million to 7.7 million.
• In view of the growing humanitarian needs in Somalia, World Vision now seeks 37 million US dollars to urgently reach over 1 million people with life saving humanitarian assistance. Consequently, World Vision has amended its appeal for the regional crisis from 92 million to 110 million US dollars.
FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
Uncertain prospects for 2017 “long-rains” crops due to early season dryness and fall armyworm infestations in key-producing areas
Reduced 2016 cereal output due to unfavourable weather conditions, particularly during the October-December “short-rains” season
Prolonged and severe drought affecting livestock conditions and productivity in most agro-pastoral and pastoral areas
Prices of maize surging to near-record to record levels in recent months
Maize grain was the most informally traded commodity in Eastern Africa in the first quarter of 2017 accounting for 33 percent of total trade, but volumes traded in the region were lower when compared to 2013-2016 average due to tight supplies following below average harvests across most countries.
Below-average rainfall and armyworm infestation threaten harvest prospects
• First season rainfall has been below average and erratically distributed in most areas. Planting was delayed in eastern and northern bimodal areas and in Karamoja and green harvests are now likely to arrive 3 to 4 weeks later than normal in these areas. Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes are expected in eastern bimodal areas and Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are likely in Moroto, Napak, and Kaabong through July.
The Global Early Warning – Early Action (EWEA) report on food security and agriculture is developed by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
The report is part of FAO’s EWEA system, which aims to translate forecasts and early warnings into anticipatory action.