Food Chain Crisis Early Warning Bulletin: Forecasting threats to the food chain affecting food security in countries and regions - No. 30, January-March 2019

Forecast for the period January-March 2019

During the period January to March 2019, Food Chain Crisis (FCC) threats are expected to occur in Africa, the Americas, Asia and Europe, where they may persist within a country, spread to neighbouring countries, remain latent, or re-emerge or amplify.

The dynamics and likelihood of occurrence of FCC threats depend on a number of risk factors or drivers. These include agro-ecological factors (intensive farming systems, deforestation, overgrazing, etc.), climate change (such as droughts, extreme weather events, flooding, heavy rains, heatwaves, the El Niño-Southern Oscillation - ENSO or changes in vegetation cover or water temperature), human behaviour (cultural practices, conflicts and civil insecurity, trade, etc.) and natural disasters.

In relation to food security, and according to the latest Crop Prospects and Food Situation report (January-March 2019), FAO estimates that, globally, 40 countries (31 in Africa, 8 in Asia, and 1 in the Americas) are in need of external assistance for food. Persisting conflicts continue to be the dominant factor driving high levels of severe food insecurity. Weather shocks have also adversely affected food availability and access. FCC threats might compound food insecurity in fragile countries stricken by weather shocks and conflicts.

Main food chain threats

Twenty-nine plant and forest pests and diseases, locusts and animal and aquatic diseases were monitored and forecasted by FAO experts for the period January-March 2019. A total of 275 forecasts were conducted in 120 countries.

According to the forecasts, the following pests and diseases represent a high to moderate risk to the food chain in some countries for the period January-March 2019: Rift Valley fever (RVF) in Africa, African swine fever (ASF) in Asia and Europe, Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), Avian influenza (AI) in Africa and Asia, and Peste des petits ruminants (PPR) in Africa, Asia and Europe for Animal diseases and zoonoses; Fall armyworm (FAW), Banana fusarium wilt disease (BFWD) and Cassava mosaic disease (CMD) in Africa and Asia, and Cassava brown streak disease (CBSD), Wheat rust and Banana bunchy top disease (BBTD) in Africa for Plant pests and diseases; Desert Locust in Africa and Asia for Locusts; and Blue gum chalcid, Red gum lerp psyllid, Bronze bug and Polyphagous shot hole borer (PSHB) in Africa, Dry cone syndrome in Asia, Bark beetles in Europe and the Americas, and Pine processionary moth in Europe for Forest pests and diseases; Tilapia Lake Virus in the Americas and Asia, and Acute hepatopancreatic necrosis disease (AHPND) in Asia for Aquatic diseases.