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As fall armyworm continues to spread across Africa, policymakers and development partners have increased their efforts to stop the pest’s reach and to mitigate its impact on the region’s agricultural production and food security.
As climate change continues to bring more frequent weather shocks, such as drought and flooding, and make rainfall patterns more erratic, smallholder farmers in developing regions like Africa south of the Sahara are often hardest hit. A new e-book from IRIN reports that mean temperatures in the region are expected to rise faster than the global average, leading to reduced agricultural yields and increased poverty and food insecurity.
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.
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.
A new Southern Africa regional alert from FEWS Net has forecast crop damage due to recent heavy rains and an outbreak of fall Armyworm.
December saw consistent severe rains in several parts of the region. This heavy rainfall has leached nutrients from the soil and prevented households from working on their farms. FEWS Net reports that both of these factors may adversely affect crop yields.