Armyworm attack on SA farms will be ‘disastrous’ - govt

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The armyworm. (iStock)
The armyworm. (iStock)

Johannesburg – South African maize farms are suffering “extensive” damage from what appears to be an alien caterpillar that destroyed fields in other countries in the region, according to the government.

While the government is yet to verify the pest as the fall armyworm that’s native to the Americas and arrived in Africa last year, the caterpillar may pose a serious threat to production of the staple food, the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said in an e-mailed statement on Wednesday.

The pest has been reported in the northern Limpopo and North West provinces, the department said. North West and the central Free State province account for the bulk of South Africa’s maize output.

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