Rome, Dec 29 (IANS/AKI) The Fall Armyworm — an invasive crop-eating pest — has spread through sub-Saharan Africa and has also reached India and Yemen, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation tweeted on Friday.
The FAW pest has infected all sub-Saharan African countries except for Zambia and the Republic of the Congo, and in August reached India and Yemen for the first time, according to FAO.
FAO said it has developed a five-year programme of action to help smallholder farmers, their organisations, their public institutions, national governments and development partners quickly respond to the challenges of FAW infestation across Africa.
FAW was first detected in Central and Western Africa in early 2016 and owing to trade and the moth’s strong flying ability, it has the potential to spread further, FAO warned.
The insect is native to tropical and subtropical regions of the Americas, and without natural pest control or good management, it can cause “significant damage” to crops, FAO said.
FAW prefers maize, but can feed on more than 80 additional species, including rice, sorghum, millet, sugarcane, vegetable crops and cotton, the UN agency stated.