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Armyworm taking over African cropland

The crop-eating armyworm marches on and now has spread to Angola.

The armyworm is native to North and South America and can devastate maize production, the staple food crop that is essential for food security in large areas of Africa. It destroys young plants, attacking their growing points and burrowing into the cobs.

Photo: Henk Riswick
Photo: Henk Riswick

The UN reports that it eats its way through southern Africa. With Angola the latest country affected, only Lesotho and island nations in the region have escaped the pest. All About Feed reported earlier that the worm is spreading rapidly in Africa.

"We need to put in place effective surveillance systems and respond in time to confirmed outbreaks," Gabriel Rugalema, FAO country representative in Kenya, said in a statement.

The caterpillar can fly long distances, leading the United Nations to fear it could reach Asia and the Mediterranean in the next few years.

Source: Reuters

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