'Fall armyworm' attacks southern African crops

South Africa's department of agriculture said on Friday that scientific tests have confirmed the presence of the invasive fall armyworm in the maize belt, the first time the crop-damaging pest has been detected there.

The fall armyworm, so called because it eats its way through most of the vegetation in its way as it marches through crops, is native to North and South America but was identified for the first time in Africa previous year.

While armyworm mainly affects maize, it has also been recorded eating more than 100 different plant species, causing major damage to crops such as rice and sugarcane as well as cabbage, beet and soybeans.

The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) has announced an emergency regional meeting to be held on February 14-16 in Harare, Zimbabwe after the pest was also identified in southern Africa. Much of Africa relies on maize as a staple food.

"This invasive species is now a serious pest spreading quickly in tropical Africa and with the potential to spread to Asia". Scientists have found it in Zimbabwe, and reports state it may be in Zambia, Malawi, Namibia, Mozambique, and South Africa as well.

He said the pest was a strong flyer and could be distributed by prevailing winds over large distances.




Researchers working at CABI's Plantwise plant clinics identified two species of fall armyworms in Ghana past year, the results of which were confirmed by DNA analysis at the organization's molecular laboratory in the UK. They have been known to destroy 90 percent of the crop in fields they infest. Cabi scientists are now working to understand how the worm reached Africa, how it spreads, and how farmers in the continent could control its spread in an environmentally friendly manner.

Most farmers in the Americas have used chemical treatments to fight armyworm infestations with mixed results, CABI's research posited.

The South African Emergency Plant Pest Response Plan is already in motion to deal with the pest, and is dependent on the extent of the spread and extent of the damage, the department said.

Countries with confirmed outbreaks can face import bans on their agricultural products because armyworm is classified as a quarantine pest.

It warned that the pest was attacking South African crops just as producers were recovering from two consecutive years of El Nino-induced drought.

South Africa's agriculture ministry said last week it was registering pesticides for use against armyworm.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
Recommended

Facebook Rising Despite CFO's Warning on Ad Load, Expenses
The number of daily active users grew by 18 percent year over year to reach 1.23 billion, up from 1.18 billion last quarter. Facebook's shares reached record levels, after gaining as much as 3 percent increase in after-hours trading February 1.

How Does FireEye, (FEYE) Stack Up Right Now?
The stock is getting much attention these days as insiders are offloading shares while they posted a 8.99% rise year to date. Revenue came in at $184.7 million, lower than the $191 million expected, according to a Thomson Reuters consensus estimate.

LG G6 Latest Leak Reveals Shiny Jet Black Finish
It is not possible to say if the corners of the device will be rounded or not from the leaked images, as reported by BGR . LG G6 boasts a large 5.7-inch display that supports an unusual 2,880 x 1440 pixels resolution (18:9 aspect ratio).

Hundreds likely killed in Rohingya crackdown
Witnesses told the United Nations they had been taunted while they were beaten and mocked over the failure of "Allah" to help.

Donald Trump conducts tense call with Australian Prime Minster Malcolm Turnbull
In return, Australia agreed to take some refugees in the United States from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. President Donald Trump has potentially opened a rift with one of America's staunchest allies: Australia.

Australian dollar pops as RBA makes positive sounds on the economy
Governor Philip Lowe and his board kept the cash rate at 1.5 percent Tuesday as forecast by 27 of 28 economists - one predicted a cut.

Trump to issue directives targeting Dodd-Frank, retirement advice rule
He is expected to sign an executive order at noon Friday instructing Treasury officials to conduct a sweeping review of the law.

No feuds within SP, Akhilesh to become next CM : Mulayam Singh Yadav
The people of Uttar Pradesh will be voting for a new government in seven-phase elections between February 11 and March 8. Akhilesh Yadav has quelled the power tussle within his family and has emerged the undisputed leader of Samjwadi Party.

Reality Check w/ John Tracy: Will Congress meet Trump's promises on Obamacare?
Wieske said that Obamacare's centralized approach to health care has not made the markets better or improved consumer experience. In some cases the available premium costs won't work financially for those seeking coverage.

Tomb Raider: First Photos of Alicia Vikander as Lara Croft Released
Academy Award-winning actor Alicia Vikander's first pictures as adventure heroine Lara Croft have hit the internet. Alicia Vikander has finally been pictured on set as Lara Croft for the upcoming Tomb Raider reboot.

Stocks May Open Higher Following Jobs Report
At the same time, the Institute for Supply Management's measure of factory employment hit its highest level since August 2014. The manufacturing sector continued its rebound from months of decline last month , adding 5,000 jobs.

Nicki Minaj Calls Out Giusepee Zanotti On Twitter
Minaj could be referring to Zanotti's recent collaborations with other music artists Jennifer Lopez and Zayn Malik. Nicki Minaj didn't stop there: "Just go on google, you'll see all the different pairs he's named after me".

Tiger Woods withdraws from Dubai Classic due to injury
So Woods needs to get on the phone with Couples, maybe before Woods' next scheduled start at the Genesis Open in Los Angeles. He just feels awful that he can't, you know, finish it out today. "He tried to work it out, but didn't get it worked out".

European Union to assume more responsibility amid Trump criticism
It's not acceptable for the worldwide community if America shirks responsibility [for taking in refugees]. She repeated her statement from the middle of January that Europe has "its fate in its own hands".

Lancashire MPs vote for Brexit bill
By law there are only general elections every five years unless the prime minister asks MPs to vote in favour of calling an early election.


More News

News
More News