African countries are facing a maize shortage and losses running into billions of dollars due to the devastation caused by the fall armyworm.
A new report released by the Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International (Cabi) shows that improper management of the armyworm could cost 10 of the continent’s major maize producing economies between $2.2 billion and $5.5 billion per year in lost maize harvests.
- In the recent outbreak, some 349 people have been treated for the plague, the health ministry said.
- Pneumonic plague is a contagious bacterial disease characterised by fever and delirium and sometimes lung infections. It can be fatal if left untreated within 24 hours.
- Plagues in the country are attributed to multiple factors including rats fleeing forest fires, poor hygiene and inadequate healthcare.
At least five people have died of pneumonic plague in Madagascar, public health officials said Friday.
- The Data Revolution requires the development of a vibrant ecosystem that actively engages in closing data gaps as well as building capacity of national statistical offices and other data producers including academia and private sector.
- The benefits of accurate, timely and accessible data in agriculture and other sectors of the economy are expected to be catalytic and significant.
By GABRIEL RUGALEMALA AND WILLY BETT
While Uganda produces close to four million tonnes of maize annually, Agriculture Minister Vincent Sempijja said that the impact of the armyworm infestation could be responsible for the loss of at least 450,000 tonnes of maize or $192.8 million worth of maize exports.
First reported in Nigeria in January 2016, the fall armyworm has since spread to Kenya, Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Togo, and Ghana.
-Maize production is expected to decline by between 20 and 30 per cent this crop year due to insufficient long rains and infestation by the fall armyworm across 27 counties.
A ban on maize exports by Tanzania saw exports to Kenya plunge by 54 per cent below average, and mostly through informal channels, according to Ministry of Agriculture data.