A combination of native African armyworms and Fall armyworms from the Americas are ravaging staple crops across southern Africa. If uncontrolled, they have the potential to cause major food shortages, according to a report in The Conversation.
Damage to maize is likely to have the biggest impact on farmers in southern Africa because it’s the main staple food crop in the region.
The impact of the Fall armyworm is likely to be devastating because it eats the leaves of the maize plant as well as its reproductive parts, destroying the cob itself.
In parts of their native range in the Americas, genetically-modified Bt maize is grown to combat the Fall armyworm. This may be an option for South Africa and some other countries where GM crops are already grown. But many parts of Africa do not allow or welcome GM varieties. See more