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Armyworm outbreak damaging crops in southern Africa – FAO

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JOHANNESBURG – A suspected outbreak of armyworms has spread to Namibia and Mozambique as well as being causing “considerable crop damage” in southern Africa, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation said on Friday.

Suspected outbreaks have erupted in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi and Nigeria.

They consume a crippling El Nino-triggered drought which scorched lots of areas last year, hitting crop production and leaving millions wanting food aid.

Countries with confirmed outbreaks can face import bans on agricultural products as the armyworm is classed as the quarantine pest. The pest may also cause extensive problems for crops and contains a preference for maize, the regional staple.

The FAO said a disastrous situation meeting will be stuck Harare from February 14 to 16 to shape coordinated emergency responses on the armyworm threat and various potential hazards such as spread of avian flu that is detected in other African regions.

In Malawi, where 6.5 million people, higher than a third of the population, are influenced by food aid until this year’s harvest in March, the infestation has spread for all 28 districts near you, threatening the staple maize crop.

The armyworm moths lay eggs in maize plants as well as caterpillars happen to be recognized by march en masse all over the landscape – and so the name. They’re identified by destroy 90% from the crop in fields they infest.

Tests have been conducted in Africa to confirm if your species could be the fall armyworm, an invasive Central American species which is harder to detect and eradicate than its African counterpart.

South Africa’s agriculture ministry is registering pesticides for replacements about the fall armyworm if perhaps tests confirm its presence from the country’s maize belt.

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