How a South American army worm is devastating Southern Africa's maize crop
A maize pest that has devastated crops in southern Africa is a South American species which is harder to detect and eradicate than its African counterpart, agriculture officials and experts said on Tuesday. The fall army worm outbreak has erupted in Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi and follows a crippling El Nino-triggered drought which scorched much of the region last year. The pest devours maize and other crops. The army worms are caterpillars that "march" across the landscape in large groups feasting on young plants, leaving devastation in their wake. "The tricky part with the fall army worm is that it burrows into the plant whereas the African army worm eats from outside," Coillard Hamusimbi, the head of agri-business at the Zambia National Farmers' Union, told Reuters. "Because it burrows into the plant the fall army worm will often only be seen when coming out after the damage has already been done. They can easily build resistance to chemical control because contact with the chemi...
Would you like to comment on this article?
Sign up (it's quick and free) or sign in now.
Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.