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African armyworm in the press

Armyworms: the hungry caterpillar threatening global food crisis

Armyworms: the hungry caterpillar threatening global food crisis

A plague of armyworms is marching across Africa, devastating crops, and claiming new territory at an alarming rate. Includes interview with Prof Ken Wilson

by Richard Poplak in Johannesburg:

The Guardian, UK

Tue 16 May 2017

New crop pest takes Africa at lightning speed

New crop pest takes Africa at lightning speed

The fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda) is marching across Africa and destroying maize fields with an astonishing speed, after arriving from the Western Hemisphere at least 16 months ago. The damage to maize could total $3 billion in the next 12 months. Eventually, damage could be limited with a range of pest-management techniques, including plant extracts such as neem oil or biopesticides based on viruses that infect armyworms. Parasitoid wasps could serve as biological control. Planting insect-repellant legumes alongside the maize seems to help deter the fall armyworm as well. The pest appears likely to spread beyond Africa. Migration or trade could bring the pest to Europe or Asia. Includes interview with Prof Ken Wilson.

by Erik Stokstad

Science magazine

Fri 05 May 2017

Radio interview: Science in Action - fall armyworms in Africa

Radio interview: Science in Action - fall armyworms in Africa

Prof Ken Wilson talks to "Science in Action" presenter Prof Adam Hart about the fall armyworm situation in Africa (starts 14 min 10 sec).

BBC World Service: Science in Action

Thu 02 March 2017

Fall armyworm crisis in Africa - why it is such a big deal

Fall armyworm crisis in Africa - why it is such a big deal

Professor Ken Wilson discusses the Fall armyworm crisis in Africa, and why it is such a big deal:

The Conversation

Sun 12 February 2017

Radio interview: Africa Today - fall armyworms in Africa

Radio interview: Africa Today - fall armyworms in Africa

Prof Ken Wilson talks to BBC World Service's "Africa Today" about the fall armyworm situation in Africa.

BBC World Service: Science in Action

Mon 06 February 2017

The fight against Zambia's armyworm outbreak, Q&A with expert Ken Wilson

The fight against Zambia's armyworm outbreak, Q&A with expert Ken Wilson

Armyworm expert Professor Ken Wilson talks about the African armyworm situation in Zambia to Radio France Internationale's English broadcasting service:

Radio interview (SoundCloud): RFL_English

Fri 30 December 2016

President Lungu acts to curb army worms

ZAMBIA: President Edgar Lungu has directed the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU)under the Office of the Vice-President to join the Ministry of Agriculture in an emergency operation to curb the spread of army worms that have invaded some districts on the Copperbelt, Luapula and Central Provinces. The operation involves among other Government agencies, the Ministry of Agriculture, DMMU and the Zambia Air force (ZAF). The Zambia Air Force has since began to airlift chemicals to Ndola on the Copperbelt, Chinsali in Muchinga Province, Kasama in Northern Province and Chipata in Eastern Province.

LusakaTimes.com

Wed 28 December 2016

Army worms invade Copperbelt

ZAMBIA: The Ministry of Agriculture has confirmed the Outbreak of Army worms in nine districts on the Copperbelt province. The Ministry has also confirmed the outbreak of Maize Sterm Maggots or larva in Waya Agricultural Camp in Kapiri Mposhi district – Central province. Ministry of Agriculture Permanent Secretary Julius Shawa has warned that if the pests are not controlled early, they will lead to huge losses.

ZNBC

Thu 22 December 2016

Nigeria: Quarantine Service Confirms Infestation of Farms in Benue

NIGERIA: Makurdi — The Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS) has confirmed 100 percent infestation of farms by army worms in the three senatorial districts of Benue State. Daily Trust earlier reported the lamentation of maize farmers in the state over this year's harvest occasioned by leaves eating worms which ravaged their entire farms. Head of the NAQS delegation on investigation to the state, acting director John Ogbaje, while briefing the commissioner for Agriculture, James Anbua, on his team's findings in Makurdi, said that maize farms visited were suspected to have been infested by pests known as army worms

AllAfrica.com

Thu 20 October 2016

Africa: Migratory Pests Threaten Food Security

CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN AFRICA: Member states of the International Red Locust Control Organisation for Central and Southern Africa (IRLCO-CSA) are on high alert for the build-up of migratory pests [armyworms and locusts]as the current weather system increases the prevalence of insects. Visiting IRLCO-CSA director, Mr Moses Okhoba, yesterday said migratory pests were of economic importance as they affected the whole region, greatly threatening food security. The pests can wipe out vast swathes of crops and pastures within a short space of time. Mr Okhoba said the 2015-16 rainfall season characterised with intermittent rainfall could allow the build-up of armyworm and locusts. "Migratory pests are a big danger to the economy if not managed well. Because of climate change, the region has seen an upsurge of pests", he said.

The Herald

Wed 16 December 2015

Ghana: Armyworms destroy farms in Mampong, Nkoranza

GHANA: There is an armyworm invasion in the Mampong municipality in the Ashanti Region and Nkoranza in the Brong Ahafo Region. The worms are fast destroying large acres of maize farms and this could pose a challenge to food security in the country if not dealt with immediately. Farmers, whose farms have been invaded by the armyworms, have, accordingly, appealed to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to help contain the situation.

Graphic.online

Mon 19 October 2015

Ten animal outbreaks that look like biblical plagues

BBC Earth: From locust swarms 110 miles long to armies of caterpillars (African armyworms) these plagues are what happens when a species runs rampant.

BBC Earth

Fri 11 September 2015

END OF 2014-15 AFRICAN ARMYWORM SEASON

During the dry season (May-October) there are unlikely to be any armyworm outbreaks reported.

Fri 01 May 2015

Zimbabwe: Govt Reacts to Armyworm Outbreak

ZIMBABWE: Government has started distributing chemicals to spray armyworms countrywide as efforts to control the pest intensify, an official said yesterday. In an interview, Plant Protection Research Services Institute deputy director in the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Dr Godfrey Chikwenhere said they had already started distributing chemicals in all the country's provinces. "We have started distributing chemicals countrywide and we have enough chemicals in stock. Government has assisted us with about $45 000 to buy chemicals and protective clothing," he said "We have Deltamethrin and Cypermethrin used to control armyworms in pasture grasses because they are less toxic to livestock. We also have Karate and Carbaryl to spray in maize and other crops because they have a long residual effect."

The Herald - allAfrica.com

Thu 01 January 2015

Zimbabwe: Armyworm Outbreak in Mbire, Muzarabani Districts

ZIMBABWE: AN armyworm outbreak has been reported in Mbire and Muzarabani, Mashonaland Central Province, where the pest is reported to have destroyed at least 26 hectares of sorghum and pastures. The pest rapidly breeds in wet conditions. In an interview yesterday, Plant Protection Research Institute Deputy director in the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Dr Godfrey Chikwenhere, said the first armyworm outbreak this year was reported on December 23 in Mbire. "We recorded the first armyworm outbreak on December 23 in Mbire District where about 22 hectares of pastures and sorghum were destroyed," he said.

The Herald - allAfrica.com

Tue 30 December 2014

Zimbabwe: Agronomists meet to fight armyworm

ZIMBABWE: Regional crop specialists have agreed to collaborate in the fight to eradicate armyworm which normally destroys cereal crops between December and March each year. The calls to strengthen ties among SADC member states was made at a Capacity Development for Community-based Armyworm Forecasting on Southern Africa workshop held in Harare yesterday. Crop specialists from Botswana, South Africa, Mozambique, Malawi, Namibia, Swaziland and Zimbabwe attended the workshop which was organised by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). Winfred Hammond, a senior entomologist with FAO, told delegates that armyworm and other transboundary pests could have a devastating effect on the region’s food security if left unchecked. “It is important the region develops an early warning system against threats, facilitate and organise joint technical assistance on armyworm in the region,” Hammond said.

NewsDay.co.zw

Fri 03 October 2014

END OF 2013-14 AFRICAN ARMYWORM SEASON

During the dry season (May-October) there are unlikely to be any armyworm outbreaks reported.

Thu 01 May 2014

Tanzania: Govt supplies pesticide to combat armyworms

Tanzania: Amid infestation of armyworms destroying food and cash crops in the Northern Zone, the government has distributed 1,507 litres of a pesticide, Deltamethrin 25EC, to hold back the pests' spread. In an interview with 'Daily News', Assistant Director of Plant Health Services in the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives, Mr Cornelius Nkondo, said the government will disburse an additional 500 litres of the pesticide to three regions of Manyara, Arusha and Kilimanjaro.

Daily News

Wed 16 April 2014

TANZANIA: Take Armyworm Warning Seriously

TANZANIA: An alert has been issued of the imminent invasion of the dreaded African armyworm. Preliminary reports say nine regions in the country are threatened with attack by the voracious pest. According to a spokesman of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives Richard Kasuga, so far the armyworms have been spotted in Mtwara, Lindi, Mbeya, Morogoro, Dodoma, Tanga, Arusha, Kilimanjaro and Coast regions. Several of the mentioned regions are also among those currently facing some level of deficit in food stocks and need every kilo to improve the situation. Source: The Guardian.

IPPmedia.com

Thu 27 March 2014

Zimbabwe: Armyworm Wreaks Havoc in Manicaland

ZIMBABWE: AT least 15 hectares of rapoko and sorghum have been destroyed by armyworms across the country, a senior official has said. In an interview, Plant Protection Research Institute (PPRI) head Dr Godfrey Chikwenhere said the worm predominantly affected crops in Nyamaropa, Chimanimani, Birchenough Bridge and Masvingo. "The problem was attributed to the dry spell that the country was experiencing over the past two weeks creating conditions that promoted the reproduction of the armyworms.

allAfrica.com

Sat 15 March 2014