NAIVASHA, Kenya, June 8 (Xinhua) -- The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations on Thursday sounded an alert over the reemergence of the fall armyworm (FAW) in six eastern African countries including Kenya.
The FAO said the pest which has already invaded 23 counties in Kenya comes back after 21 years and blamed climate change for the latest challenge to the agriculture sector.
FAO Representative to Kenya Carla Mucavi attributed the resurgence of the pest to climate change, noting that the current weather was very conducive for the pest to breed.
Mucavi identified Kenya, Eretria, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia and Uganda as the countries currently feeling the effects of the pest.
"After 21 years we have seen a reemergence of the African armyworm due to climate change and are working with affected countries in managing the pest," she said in Naivasha, a town about 93 km to the northwest of Nairobi, the Kenyan capital, during the launch of the African armyworm management project.
The remarks come at a time when more than 20 counties in Kenya mainly in arid and semi-arid lands regions are still reeling from the drought.
Mucavi said that the UN food agency had set aside 500,000 U.S. dollars to train agricultural extension officers and for the provision of equipment in dealing with the pest.
She noted that the worm posed a major threat to food and nutrition security in the region.
Joseph Kirubi, secretary of Administration at the State Department of Crops in the Ministry of Agriculture, said that the government was working closely with the FAO in dealing with the worm.
According to him, 23 counties had been affected, adding that the ongoing campaign was meant to stem the pest from spreading further.
Kirubi admitted the reemergence of the fall armyworm was a major blow to the country which managed to contain the invasion of desert locusts last year.