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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.

April 2018 - June 2018

Fall Armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda)

Fall Armyworm (FAW) continues to be a threat in Africa. It first surfaced in Africa in 2016, and in early 2017, the infestation rate increased dramatically. By the beginning of 2018, the infestation had spread to millions of hectares of maize and other crops that predominately belong to smallholder farmers. FAW is now present in Western, Central, Eastern, and Southern Africa.

Recent developments include an official declaration of FAW presence from Mali and an official confirmation, after molecular tests, from Sudan. The majority of Africa (with the exception of Northern Africa) is now affected.

FAW is particularly concerning because of its impacts on the food security and livelihoods of smallholder farmers. It can result in a significant yield decline, and there are concerns that the pest will develop pesticide resistance.

At the sub-regional level, during this forecast period (April to June 2018):

Northern Africa will have to remain vigilant to the possible introduction of the pest, as FAW is present in neighboring countries. Strong surveillance and monitoring are recommended.

Western and Eastern Africa are at significant risk of further damage from FAW, because the forecast period overlaps with the maize season in many of the countries.

Central African maize is also at risk. Furthermore, there have been reports of FAW on alternate crops including sugarcane and sorghum. Conducting robust control operations is highly advised.

Southern Africa is at risk because FAW damage is expected to exacerbate the negative impacts of a drought that affected the region from mid-December to late-January. Damage and spread will be mitigated by the onset of lower temperatures in the region and the reduction of maize availability. Nevertheless, FAW is expected to survive and cause damage to alternate crops.