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The provincial director of agriculture in Mozambique’s western Tete province, Jose Mendonca, has said a suspected outbreak of armyworms spread to his region and is causing “considerable crop damage, APA can report on Tuesday.Last week, about 45 out of 260 hectares maize crop in Mozambique’s southern province of Inhambane were reportedly affected by the outbreak.
Mendonca said so far 1,270 hectares of crops have been lost to the pest, affecting about 3,500 peasant households in Tete . Fields of maize, sorghum, millet and vegetables have been affected in eight rural districts, and in the green belt around Tete city.
The armyworm moths lay eggs in maize plants and the caterpillars have also been known to march en masse across the landscape hence the name. They have been known to destroy 90 percent of the crop in fields they infest.
Suspected outbreaks have already erupted in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi and South Africa.
They follow a crippling El Nino-triggered drought which scorched much of the region last year, hitting crop production and leaving millions in need of food aid.
Countries with confirmed outbreaks can face import bans on agricultural products because the armyworm is classified as a quarantine pest. The pest can also cause extensive damage to crops and has a preference for maize, the regional staple.Source: APA
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