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East Africa: Armyworm Infestation - Mar 2017

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Disaster types
Insect Infestation

As millions of east African farmers seek to recover from a devastating drought, they face a new threat – the fall armyworm. The pest has been recently detected in Kenya and is suspected to have entered the country from Uganda. It is also known to be present in Burundi, Ethiopia and Rwanda. The fall armyworm was first reported in western Kenya by farmers in March 2017, and immediately confirmed by the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service and Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation. The initial counties infested were Busia, TransNzoia, Bungoma, Uasin Gishu and Nandi. (FAO, 25 Apr 2017)

As of 23 May, Fall Armyworm has affected more than 143,000 hectares of land in major maize and wheat-producing counties [in Kenya]. [FAO] and the Ministry of Agriculture have adopted a planning response figure of 800,000 hectares, which requires US$33.5 million for pesticides and awareness campaigns in the medium term. US$6.6 million is required for an immediate response. (OCHA, UNCT Kenya, 23 May 2017)

In collaboration with [FAO] and other development partners, the Government of Ethiopia has intensified efforts to protect major maize growing areas from the ravage of the fall armyworm. The fall armyworm, which first arrived in Africa in 2016, was intercepted on a few hectares of irrigated maize fields in southern Ethiopia in the last week of February 2017. It has now covered about 52 962 hectares in 144 districts in three of the major maize-growing regional states – Gambella, Oromia and Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples’ Region (SNNPR)...The Government of Ethiopia allocated nearly USD 2 million to tackle the problem. (FAO, 30 May 2017)

Fall armyworm, which has caused extensive damage to maize crops in southern Africa, has spread to the east and has worsened the situation. In Kenya, the pest has so far affected about 200 000 hectares of crops, and in Uganda more than half the country's 111 districts are affected. (FAO, 14 Jul 2017)

Despite containment efforts, fall armyworm (FAW) - an insect native to tropical and subtropical regions of the Americas—is expected to remain a threat to food insecurity in the Horn of Africa in 2018. (OCHA, 29 Jan 2018)

FAW infestation continues to threaten food security to small holder farmers in Ethiopia. (OCHA, 26 Aug 2019)