Armyworms threaten southern Africa food supply-- UN agency
An outbreak of armyworm caterpillars present in several southern African countries threatens to strip the entire region of key food supplies, warned the UN food agency Thursday.
It is probably only a matter of time before most of the region will be affected, said David Phiri, sub-regional coordinator for Southern Africa of the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).
Phiri added that it is even more concerning that the pest could be here to stay.
The warnings came at the close of an emergency regional summit in Harare to tackle an outbreak of crop-eating armyworms that has already caused damage to staple crops in Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Ghana.
Reports also suggest Malawi, Mozambique and Namibia are affected.
Southern Africa is currently the epicentre of the fall worm problem, Phiri said. There are other countries that have already been affected...and others that are at risk.
Experts and representatives from 13 southern and east African countries gathered for the three-day emergency meeting to thrash out solutions, agreeing to increase surveillance, co-operation and share information on the armyworms.
The first fall armyworms were spotted in Nigeria and Togo last year, with one theory saying they arrived in Africa on commercial flights from South America or in plants imported from the region.
The caterpillars eat maize, wheat, millet and rice -- key food sources in southern and eastern Africa, where many areas are already struggling with shortages after years of severe drought.
They also attack cotton, soybean, potato and tobacco fields.
Chemical pesticides can be effective, but fall armyworms have developed resistance in their native Americas.
There is still a lot of work that we need to do to begin to practically control the trans-boundary pest and disease problem, Phiri said.
Brazil spends about $600 million (562 million euros) to fight the pests every year, according to Phiri.
We agree that prevention is more effective and less costly, Phiri said.
In December, Zambia deployed its national air force to transport pesticides across the country so that fields could be sprayed.
(2017/02/17 14:23)Click Here for Japanese Translation
AFP-JIJI PRESS NEWS JOURNAL
- 02/23 12:32 French artist is entombed in rock for a week
- 02/23 12:24 Genital herpes in pregnancy doubles autism risk-- study
- 02/23 12:15 Apple 'spaceship' headquarters readies for boarding
- 02/23 12:09 Outdated F1 not winning' warns Hamilton
- 02/23 11:51 Exoplanets 101-- Looking for life beyond our Solar System
- 02/23 11:36 Japanese tourists flock to Brighton home of 2015 World Cup glory
- 02/22 14:27 Australian swimmer Hackett to seek help abroad after family bust-up
- 02/22 14:25 Israel soldier sentenced to 18 months for killing Palestinian
- 02/22 14:22 Far-right firebrand Yiannopoulos in trouble over pedophilia remarks
- 02/22 14:20 Scientists find four new miniature frog species in India
- 02/22 14:18 Fewer teen suicide attempts in states with gay marriage-- study
- 02/22 14:15 Canada to welcome 1,200 Yezidi refugees from Iraq
- 02/22 14:13 Chris Brown restrained from model after abuse account
- 02/21 14:43 US gymnasts unveil accusations of abuse by doctor
- 02/21 14:40 60,000-year-old microbes found in Mexican mine-- NASA scientist
- 02/21 14:38 1.4 million children face famine in four countries-- UNICEF
- 02/21 14:36 Drake says Grammys pigeon-holed him as black artist
- 02/21 14:18 'Spiderman' thief gets eight years for $100m Paris art heist
- 02/21 14:14 S.Korean woman gets 6 years over exorcism death in Germany
- 02/20 15:24 'War won't stop us' vow Syria child victims Bana, Abdel
- 02/20 14:40 Dustin Johnson vaults to world golf number one
- 02/20 14:37 Global arms trade highest since Cold War-- study
- 02/20 14:31 Germany bans internet-connected 'spy' doll Cayla
- 02/20 14:18 Melania Trump prays, assails critics in Florida speech
- 02/20 14:11 Hitler's phone sells for more than $240,000
- 02/17 14:36 Australian swimmer Hackett posts bruised face photo amid family turmoil
- 02/17 14:34 South Sudan war reaches 'catastrophic proportions'-- UN report
- 02/17 14:23 Armyworms threaten southern Africa food supply-- UN agency
- 02/17 14:20 Test can detect HIV within a week of infection-- researchers
- 02/17 14:17 ADHD a 'brain disorder', not just bad behaviour-- study
- 02/17 14:14 N. Korea female agents are regime's weapon of choice-- defector
- 02/16 14:01 Study links working remotely to more stress, insomnia
- 02/16 11:47 Bite-mimicking malaria vaccine shows promise-- study
- 02/16 10:59 Johnson wants Bryant to help rebuild Lakers
- 02/16 10:46 King of university degrees is 70-year old Italian
- 02/16 10:32 Chinese superclub Evergrande to end foreign signings
- 02/16 10:15 'Sex with Me'-- Rihanna tops Valentine's playlists
- 02/15 14:21 Iranian women dressed as men barred from football game
- 02/15 14:19 Indian doctors prepare 'world's heaviest woman' for surgery
- 02/15 14:14 Indonesia launches anti-Valentine's Day condom raids
- 02/15 14:12 'Apple-shaped' body could raise risk of diabetes
- 02/15 14:09 Valentine's Day returns to Iraq's IS-free east Mosul
- 02/15 14:06 Actor Hugh Jackman treated for skin cancer again
- 02/14 10:15 Pick my opponent, Pacquiao asks fans
- 02/14 10:08 Only one Russian athlete returns Olympic medal after dope finding
- 02/14 10:01 Astronomers zoom in on megastar's juvenile outburst
- 02/14 09:50 Mourinho's man behind England rugby fitness boost
- 02/14 09:25 Image of 'hatred of our times' wins World Press Photo
- 02/14 09:10 All hail Bey