Fresh armyworm outbreak in Zim

HARARE - Zimbabwe is battling to control a fresh outbreak of fall armyworm pests.

Government has launched a new programme to combat the fall armyworm (FAW) in the country.

The FAW is a trans-boundary pest that is difficult to manage and was first reported in southern Africa in late 2016.

It continues to cause damage to maize and other crops both in Zimbabwe and the region.

Confirmed outbreaks can face import bans on their agricultural products because armyworm is classified as a quarantine pest.

The FAW is an invasive Central American species that is harder to detect and eradicate than its African counterpart.

Key concerns about FAW infestation are the impact on food security.

The armyworms usually attack fields en mass, consuming crops including maize, wheat, millet and rice, the main sources for food in Zimbabwe.

The programme will be conducted with assistance from the Food and Agriculture Organisation (Fao).