NAIVASHA, Kenya, Sept. 27 (Xinhua) -- A regional pest and vector management body said Thursday the Fall Army Worm is a major threats to food security in the East and Central Africa region.
The Desert Locust Control Organization for East Africa (DLCO-EA) said the pest was spreading at a worrying rate noting that all regions of the continent were already feeling the effects of worm.
"Our main focus as an institution is to deal with locust and other migratory pests but we are worried by the fall army worm which has continued to spread from one country to the other," DLCO Director Dr Stephen Njoka told journalists in Naviasha.
According to Food and Agriculture Organization, (FAO), the insect which was recently detected in India has the capacity to fly over long distances (100 km per night) and ravage crops all year round given the region's favorable tropical and sub-tropical climate, which means there are always crops and weeds around that Fall Armyworm can feed on.
Fall Armyworm can eat maize and some 80 other crops, including rice, vegetables, groundnuts and cotton, according to FAO.
The latest development comes after it emerged that all the nine member countries of the organization had been affected by the pest whose solution was yet to be identified.
According to Njoka, the pest was devastating and a major threat to plans by member countries to achieve food security.
He noted that apart from Somali and Djibouti, all the other member countries had been hardest hit by the pest which was first detected two years ago.
"If Kenya and other neighboring counties do not address the issue of the devastating fall army worm then it will be hard for the region to be food secure," Njoka said during the organization's annual general meeting which was attended by representatives from all the member countries.