US SAYS COMMITTED TO HELP AFRICA COMBAT SPREAD OF FALL ARMYWORM

ADDIS ABABA–The United States government has expressed its commitment to pursue its partnership with African nations in the fight to stop the spread of the Fall armyworm, a pest which can destroy vast areas of crops.

In a telephone media briefing about efforts to combat the Fall armyworm in Africa on Tuesday, US Agency for International development (USAID) Fall Armyworm Task Force Co-ordinator Regina Eddy said the worm had been identified in more than 35 countries of Africa.

She revealed that the US had a decade of experience in controlling Fall armyworm, originally found only in the Americas, so the challenge is transferring that knowledge to African counterparts and opening the path of thousands to the technology.

The worm, more accurately the larval stage of a moth, has damaged about three million hectares of maize crops since it first appeared in Africa two years ago. Additionally, agriculture experts estimate that the pest has caused more than 13 billion US dollars in losses for crops across Africa.

In order to fight the pest in Ethiopia, the US government has been working with the government and the private sector to make recommendations on the measures to be taken, based on experience, Eddy said.

A total of 210 experts and development agents were reportedly trained early this year so that they can cascade the knowledge and skills to communities, it was learned. The fall army worm has spread in more than five of Ethiopia’s nine regions (provinces).

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK