maize

Controlling Fall Armyworm

Africa south of the Sahara continues to struggle against an invasion of Fall Armyworm. Since its first appearance in Nigeria in early 2016, the pest has spread to 28 countries. Driving the rapid spread of the pest is the region’s climate – fall armyworm tends to thrive in areas where drought is followed by heavy rains, a pattern that has intensified in recent years in many areas of Africa south of the Sahara.

Tracking Price Transmission in Nigeria

Since the food price crisis of 2007-2008, there has been significant attention paid to the issue of price transmission from global to national markets, particularly in developing regions such as Africa south of the Sahara. A new paper published in the Journal of Agricultural Economics  looks at seven key food security crops in Nigeria - maize, millet, sorghum, rice, cassava, yams, and cowpeas - to assess local (both urban and rural), regional, and international price transmission.

New GIEWS Country Briefs for Ethiopia and Tanzania

The FAO Global Information and Early Warning System (GIEWS) has released updated country briefs for Ethiopia and Tanzania. These briefs provide up-to-date food security and agricultural information, as well as forecasts for cereal imports and production and other food security-related indicators.

Is Higher Priced Food Safer?

The lack of a reliable safe food supply in developing nations brings with it both health and economic costs. A recent article published in Agricultural Economics explores the idea that brands that can ensure the safety of their food should be able to charge higher prices for their product. This ability to earn higher profit in turn incentivizes brands to meet and maintain higher food safety standards.

Fall Armyworm Hits South and East Africa

South and East Africa continue to grapple with an invasion of fall armyworm (FAW) invasion. This pest, never seen on the continent until 2016, is native to the US, and it remains unclear how it was first introduced to Africa. Prolonged dry spells and heavy rains are being blamed for the prevalence of the pest, as these conditions seem to provide a thriving breeding ground.

New GIEWS Country Briefs Released

FAO’s Global Information and Early Warning System (GIEWS) has recently released several new country briefs for the Africa South of the Sahara Food Security Portal’s prioritized countries. The country brief series provides information regarding countries’ current agricultural season and harvest prospects for main staple food crops, as well as estimates and forecasts of cereal production, cereal imports, and food prices and policy developments.

Understanding Post-Harvest Losses

According to FAO estimates, approximately 1.3 billion tonnes of food gets lost or wasted every year around the world. These losses occur all along the food value chain, from farm to fork, and understanding exactly where they occur for specific commodities and in specific geographic locations can go a long way in helping researchers and policymakers design interventions to reduce them. Such a reduction in food loss is an important part of the Sustainable Development Goals, specifically SDG12.

Fertilizer Subsidies in Ghana

Subsidies to promote fertilizer use have become a popular policy in Africa south of the Sahara, aimed at increasing the region’s lagging agricultural production. However, new research from Ghana, published in Food Security, suggest that fertilizer subsidies alone may not be enough to encourage greater fertilizer application and increase farm productivity.

Farmer's Willingness to Pay for Drought-Tolerant Maize

Maize plays a vital role in food security in Africa south of the Sahara, providing an estimated 40-50 percent of the calories consumed by poor populations.[1] However, the crop is also very susceptible to climate-driven shocks, particularly variable rainfall and drought. While drought-tolerant maize varieties have become more widely available in recent years, the adoption of these new varieties depends on farmers’ perceptions of the crop’s benefits – and their willingness to pay for those benefits.

Pests Threatening Food Security

An emergency meeting this week in Harare, Zimbabwe will focus on the spread of the fall armyworm caterpillar throughout much of southern Africa. Experts from 13 countries will join FAO, the Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International (CABI), the Southern African Development Committee (SADC), and the International Red Locust Control Organization for Central and Southern Africa (IRLCO-CSA) to discuss how the pest can be stopped in an environmentally sustainable way.

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