The African continent is facing an unprecedented invasion from fall armyworm, which is rapidly spreading among many countries, the African Union Commission has said.In a press briefing on Saturday on the sidelines of the meetings in preparation for the AU Summit on Monday, the Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, Josefa Sacko, said currently the pest has reportedly spread to 25 countries.
In those countries, it has attacked crops on 1.5 million hectares of land, affecting the economy and food security of many countries. AU is very concerned about the damage caused by the pest and the impact it would have on the affected countries, she noted.
In this regard, the African Union Commission is working in partnership with UN FAO to develop an intervention programme to support member states. She urged countries affected by the pest to use local means to control the spread of the fall armyworm.
The fall armyworm is a migratory pest known to cause massive destruction on maize and other crops under warm and humid conditions in the Americas.
Ethiopia is among the countries affected by the pest, which was first detected in Africa in early 2016 in Nigeria, Sao Tome and Principe, Benin and Togo.