According to recent research, East Africa could be facing the threat of a citrus fruit sap-sucking pest with the potential to collapse its entire regional fruit industry. The pest is called the Asian citrus psyllid and it transmits the bacterium that causes citrus greening disease, which deforms fruits and reduces their commercial value enormously.
Since October 2018, this epidemic of ovine rinderpest has spread across 13 regional departments in Algeria, including El Bayadh, Tébessa, Béjaïa, Laghouat and Djelfa. Ovine rinderpest is a highly infectious disease that mainly affects sheep and goats. The disease is spread by close contact between animals.
Jackson Lewangu looks up at the clouds scudding above the dry plains of northern Kenya. And, somewhere higher still, a satellite looks down on him. Since 2012 Mr Lewangu, who keeps goats and cattle, has bought insurance designed by the International Livestock Research Institute, based in Nairobi. The satellite monitors vegetation; when it is unusually scarce, he gets a payout.
While millions of people go hungry around the world, 40 per cent of crops are decimated by pests and diseases. But British scientists believe they have found a solution and it comes, in part, from space. The Pest Risk Information Service (Prise) uses data from satellites and weather stations to predict when disease or pest infestations will hit crops, giving farmers much needed time to prepare.
An estimated 500,000 livestock deaths and over 30,000 people were left vulnerable to the impacts of the drought between 2014 and 2017. The droughts are closely related to the ongoing climate change in the country. In the last decade, available reports have suggested that climate change has led to about 2.5 trillion U.S. dollars in disaster losses in developing countries resulting in the number of people affected by natural disasters doubling from 102 million in 2015 to 204 million in 2017.
Hundreds of livestock and wildlife have died following heavy rains in Taita Taveta County. Farmers said the worst hit areas were ranches and smaller settlement areas bordering the Tsavo National Park. The farmers claimed that the two ranches had so far lost over 200 goats, sheep and calves. Humphrey Mwashauwa, a farmer from Bungule village, said he had lost about 80 goats while Hezron Mjoma in the neighbouring Jora village lamented the loss of more than 50 goats.
Simon Schwall was working for Swedish micro-insurance company BIMA, selling health and life insurance to low-income families in Papua New Guinea. As satisfied as Schwall was with his success, “I realized that one of the main risks, one that people felt even more strongly about, was crop insurance,” Schwall tells. “Farmers need protection against a bad season.”
Twelve African countries, including Tanzania, may lose maize yields valued at between $2.48 billion and $6.1 billion within the next five years due to the devastating fall armyworm (FAW). The invasive pest has already wreacked havoc on maize production in various parts of the continent, especially in East Africa, threatening food security to millions.
When the rains are good in West Africa, cotton crops thrive. In those years, cotton farmers reap the rewards of a higher-risk cash crop and the local cotton company has more to sell. When drought strikes and cotton crops fail, farmers might have to sell off everything they own to pay back input loans. The alternative is to quit cotton entirely, a loss both for them and the local economy.
We estimate that increasing the mechanisation rate in Nigeria from 0.3hp/ha to 0.8hp/ha in the next five years can double rice production to 7.2 million tonnes. To achieve this, we estimate that Nigeria will need to triple its current stock of machinery over the same period. Rice — the most consumed staple.
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