Poor rains, fall armyworm leaves Southern Africa vulnerable

Poor rains, fall armyworm leaves Southern Africa vulnerable
Published: 09 February 2018 (400 Views)
Harare - Prolonged dry spells, erratic rainfall, high temperatures and the presence of the voracious fall armyworm have significantly dampened Southern Africa's current agricultural season's cereal production prospects. Early action in the form of consolidating information through assessments and anticipatory measures that reduce the impact of threats are crucial for an effective response.

Fall Armyworm, which first emerged last season, has compounded the situation as it continues to spread within national territories and beyond. The pest is now present across the Southern African Development Community (SADC) except Mauritius and Lesotho. Partial fall armyworm monitoring has pointed to Malawi as the hotspot in the 2017/18 season, and the country has since declared a national disaster.

"FAO concludes that the damage may already have been done. Whether the dry spells continue, or a lot of rainfall is received within a short period, crop production is likely to be negatively affected and consequently, water supplies for humans and livestock," said David Phiri, the FAO Subregional Coordinator for Southern Africa.
 
Poor season signals food and nutrition insecurity, limits income-generating opportunities

A Special Alert issued by the Food Nutrition and Security Working Group Southern Africa (FNSWG) painted a worrying picture of the situation, as many farmers from the region planted late while in some areas of Botswana, southern Mozambique and Zimbabwe did not plant at all. According to the Alert, South Africa - the largest producer of white maize in the region--has reported a 22 percent decline in area planted this season.

The poor rains and the presence of the fall armyworm, Special Alert says, have far reaching consequences on access to adequate food and nutrition during the 2018/19-consumption year. Additionally, this will limit income-generating opportunities resulting in far reaching consequences on food and income security gains made in recent years.

The outlook marks a sharp swing from a largely successful 2016/17 summer cropping season that saw a significant improvement in cereal output across the region. However, the 2016/17 season is sandwiched by poor seasons as 2015/16 was characterized by an El NiƱo induced drought that left the region with a huge cereal deficit.
 
Southern Africa continues to experience shocks

Intermittent rains preceded the two seasons, which affected crop production and affected pastures. In some cases, a diametrically opposite situation prevailed, as some areas, for example in parts of Mozambique and Malawi where floods washed crops and livestock away.
Southern Africa continues to experience weather shocks, which threaten human, and livestock and these have become more pronounced with changes in climate. Phiri said it was imperative that stakeholders including the UN, SADC, funding partners, non-governmental organizations and the private sector come together to attain a "convergence of thought on the evolving situation."

"There is an urgent need to determine the scale and possible impact of the prolonged dry spell on the season and intervene immediately. It is equally important to draw lessons from previous experiences and implement proven resilience-building interventions such as prepositioning water infrastructure, supplementary feeds and disease surveillance for livestock," added Phiri.

Additional interventions which proved successful in the past seasons include input support for winter crop production on existing irrigation facilities, capacitating farmers for good post-harvest practices to minimize and avoid further losses as well as input support to restore agricultural production in the 2018/19 main cropping season.

- Agencies

 0

You May Like These Videos

Comments

There are no comments.

Latest stories

Zimbabwe tourism earnings surpass $1 billion

by Staff reporter | 19 February 2019 | 36 Views

TinTin suffers mental illness scare

by Mandla Ndlovu | 19 February 2019 | 62 Views

Letter to my friends in the MDC Alliance

by Nkosilathi Emmanuel Moyo, Sr | 19 February 2019 | 53 Views

'ZANU PF will be dead in 2028' says Jonathan Moyo

by Mandla Ndlovu | 19 February 2019 | 55 Views

PHOTOS: Top ZANU PF leader's body arrives

by Mandla Ndlovu | 19 February 2019 | 71 Views

Zimnat invites entries for Sanlam financial journalism award

by Staff writer | 19 February 2019 | 67 Views

MDC Bulawayo endorses Chamisa for Presidency

by Mandla Ndlovu | 19 February 2019 | 115 Views

Jonathan Moyo imposter calls Chamisa a biblical Moses.

by Mandla Ndlovu | 19 February 2019 | 157 Views

Chamisa, Mnangagwa MPs set tone for dialogue

by Staff reporter | 19 February 2019 | 156 Views

Former minister's children fight over estate

by Staff reporter | 19 February 2019 | 141 Views

$7bn needed for cleaner energy in Zimbabwe

by Staff reporter | 19 February 2019 | 69 Views

Man steal 'funeral' meat

by Staff reporter | 19 February 2019 | 108 Views

5 'Zacc officials' in trouble

by Staff reporter | 19 February 2019 | 99 Views

African Union and Sadc are spineless

by Pearl Matibe | 19 February 2019 | 84 Views

Serial burglar jailed 48 months

by Staff reporter | 19 February 2019 | 77 Views

Mliswa escalates fight against Nduna

by Staff reporter | 19 February 2019 | 100 Views

MDC legislator fumes over 'partisan distribution' of agric inputs

by Staff reporter | 19 February 2019 | 72 Views

Jailed robbers face fresh charges

by Staff reporter | 19 February 2019 | 73 Views

Zimbabwe inflation seen slowing down in October

by Staff reporter | 19 February 2019 | 68 Views

MDC councillor in court over violence

by Staff reporter | 19 February 2019 | 69 Views

Zimbabwean actor lands role in UK series

by Staff reporter | 19 February 2019 | 67 Views

SA civic groups blast Sadc over Zimbabwe rights violations

by Staff reporter | 19 February 2019 | 82 Views

Bulawayo extends water-rationing to 72hrs

by Staff reporter | 19 February 2019 | 63 Views

MDC chair denied access to detained party members

by Staff reporter | 19 February 2019 | 71 Views

Ginimbi's club Sankayi to shut down

by Staff reporter | 19 February 2019 | 60 Views

Tollgate scandal rocks Zinara

by Staff reporter | 19 February 2019 | 68 Views

Chamisa, Mnangagwa trade barbs

by Staff reporter | 19 February 2019 | 41 Views

'China has confidence in Mnangagwa'

by Staff reporter | 19 February 2019 | 39 Views

Matebeleland chiefs escalates their row with Mnangagwa

by Staff reporter | 19 February 2019 | 48 Views

Mnangagwa purges Chiwenga top allies

by Staff reporter | 19 February 2019 | 40 Views

Chamisa will not be challenged at the elective congress

by Staff reporter | 19 February 2019 | 34 Views

Mnangagnwa dismisses fake reports on tracking doctors and lawyers

by Staff reporter | 19 February 2019 | 107 Views

Mnangagwa ready to engage

by Staff reporter | 19 February 2019 | 40 Views

Mnangagwa's lawyer assaults MDC MP's lawyer in court

by ZimLive | 19 February 2019 | 48 Views

What type of forex trader are you?

by Staff Reporter | 19 February 2019 | 90 Views