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Race to contain destructive march of armyworm as pest spreads to India


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A crop-chomping caterpillar that has devastated food stocks across Africa has now arrived in southern India and scientists warn the insect could spread throughout Asia to become a major threat to global food security.

The voracious fall armyworm which was first spotted on the African continent two years ago and has since cost billions of pounds in crop losses is best known for gnawing on maize but eats an additional 186 plant species, including sorghum and soya beans.

A pest alert by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (Icar reports that Spodoptera frugiperda was identified on 70% of the maize crops examined in Chikkaballapur, Karnataka state, where larvae matched fall armyworm samples from Canada and Costa Rica.

Scientists from the Oxfordshire-based Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International (Cabi), which developed an action plan to combat the caterpillar’s spread in Africa, now fear that the food security of millions of people across Asia could be at risk if the armyworms are not contained. India produces more than 20m tonnes of maize a year across the subcontinent, enabling the pest to spread rapidly, Cabi warned.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2018/aug/07/race-to-contain-destructive-march-of-armyworm-as-pest-spreads-to-india

Posted by on Aug 7 2018. Filed under Food security, News at Now, News From Roots. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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