maize

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.

Food Safety and Food Price: Is There a Link?

Food safety remains a significant concern in many developing countries, thanks to a prevalence of decentralized, informal food markets and low enforcement of food safety standards. Formal markets and branded food products are starting to become more common, however, allowing firms to establish themselves in consumers’ minds as providers of safe, high quality food – and potentially to charge higher prices for that food.

Can Africa Feed Itself?

Demand for cereals in Africa south of the Sahara could triple by 2050, and increasing current yields on the region’s existing farmland alone may not be enough to meet that demand, according to a new paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Malawi's Food-Insecure Population Expected to Grow

For the second year in a row, Malawi is facing a national maize deficit. In the 2016-2017 marketing year, the maize supply gap is expected to be 953,000 MT, according to a new Food Security Outlook from FEWS Net.

GIEWS Country Briefs See Mixed Crop Production, High Food Insecurity

FAO’s Global Information and Early Warning Systems (GIEWS) has released several new country briefs for Africa south of the Sahara. This series of briefs provides an overview of the food security situation in prioritized countries, focusing on the current agricultural season, harvest prospects for staple food crops and livestock, estimates and forecasts of cereal production, and food price and food policy trends.

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