Pest threat to maize crops

The Star Early Edition - - TRUMP FOCUS -

A LAR­VAE out­break which has dam­aged maize in South Africa’s Lim­popo and North West prov­inces is “strongly sus­pected” to be the in­va­sive army worm that has at­tacked crops in neigh­bour­ing coun­tries, a sci­en­tist said yes­ter­day. The in­fes­ta­tion of fall army worms – an in­va­sive Cen­tral Amer­i­can species that is harder to de­tect and erad­i­cate than its African coun­ter­part – has erupted in Zam­bia, Zim­babwe and Malawi and fol­lows a crippling El Niño-trig­gered drought, which scorched much of the re­gion last year. The army worm is clas­si­fied as a quar­an­tine pest. John­nie van den Berg, an en­to­mol­o­gist at South Africa’s North-West Univer­sity who has col­lected sam­ples from af­fected farms, said tax­o­nomic tests were be­ing done for con­fir­ma­tion. – Reuters

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