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FOOD CHAIN CRISIS

Early Warning Bulletin

The Quarterly Early Warning Bulletin integrates information on threats to the food chain and food security for the three months ahead.

It is the result of a collaboration between the Emergency Prevention System (EMPRES) for transboundary animal and plant pests and diseases and food safety threats, the Global Information and Early Warning System (GIEWS) and the Food Chain Crisis Management Framework (FCC). Data is provided by GIEWS and EMPRES.

July 2017 - September 2017
Overview
  • Fall Armyworm, Spodoptera frugiperda, continues to be of high concern in Africa particularly on maize.  The pest was detected for the first time in Africa in early 2016 and has been reported so far in Central, Eastern, Western and Southern Africa. During the July-September 2017 period, the pest is expected to spread to areas where the crop growing season is in progress such as in Western and part of Eastern and Central Africa. This pest is a moth native to tropical and subtropical regions of the Americas that feeds on more than 80 plant species and can cause significant damage and yield losses on cultivated cereals such as maize, rice, sorghum, as  well as  legumes and vegetable crops and cotton, if not properly managed. For the time being, the modality of introduction to Africa, its spread, the presence of different strains, and its bio-ecology in Africa are still speculative. However, now that the Fall Armyworm is established on the continent it is almost certain that its presence is irreversible given favourable climatic conditions, its large host range, and a limited range of natural enemies or predators to keep it under check. Fall Armyworm cannot be feasibly eradicated but rather managed. It is a diffusely distributed pest, living in millions of plants across millions of farmers’ fields, therefore it is a farmer’s problem. Knowing that 99% of maize farmers in Africa are smallholder family farmers, solutions fitting the socio-economic and ecological realities across the continent should be sought.

  • H5N8 Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza, a new strain of avian influenza virus, is of high concern worldwide and particularly in Africa. This strain has been so far reported in nine countries in Eastern, Northern, Southern, and Western Africa and is likely to continue to spread across the poultry value chains in the sub-Saharan region. This strain was detected in wild and domestic poultry for the first time in Africa in November 2016, and earlier in Asia and Europe. The virus is probably transmitted and spread along wild birds’ migratory routes. HPAI is a highly contagious disease causing high mortality in poultry and resulting in severe losses in the poultry production sector with impact on poultry production, food security, livelihoods and trade.  It can also potentially affect humans. Increased biosecurity measures, communication campaigns targeting farmers and poultry value chain actors, and restrictions on poultry movement are the most effective prevention measures of the disease.