No one knows how the worm that has destroyed massive corn crops could be stopped. Now the UN holds an emergency meeting to try to figure out a way, reports NRK.
The UN Food and Agriculture Organization, FAO, is in the middle of a three-day emergency meeting to figure out how to stop the devastating caterpillar Spodoptera frugiperda ("armyworm" in English).
South Africa, Zimbabwe, Malawi and Zambia are among the countries that have seen how the worm has invaded and destroyed the vital maize fields in the region.
Only in Zambia the worm has destroyed 130,000 hectares of corn fields, according to authorities. In South Africa - the region's largest corn producer - six provinces are affected, writes the BBC.
-"It's widespread and seems to be spreading rapidly. It can lay up to 2,000 eggs and its life cycle is very quick. As there are no registered chemicals in Zimbabwe to deal with it, farmers are trying to spray using different mixes put together. It has come in like one of the 10 plagues of the Bible, says farmer Ben Freeth to the South African Sunday Times.
So far it has been impossible for local authorities to stop the aggressive growth of the worm.
- They have failed to control the worm, because it constantly evolves. But we must develop a plan to stop it, said UN FAO Coordinator David Phiri in a statement.
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