Society | Health | Agriculture - Nutrition
Thousands could face hunger in Liberia
afrol News, 26 January - More than 120,000 Liberians are likely to face hunger after an invasion by millions of caterpillars that have devoured crops and plaqued more than 40 villages in Central Liberia, government has warned.
Millions of army worms which swarmed farms, devastated crops and contaminated several major waterways with their faeces are the worst swarm of the insect the country has seen in the last three decades.
Liberian agriculturalists and government have called for extensive aerial spraying to combat the aggressive larvae, since the caterpillars have managed to bypass more minimal, local attempts to divert the hordes.
The Liberian government have already announced that it has no capacity to spray the army worms with insecticide from planes and has asked the international community for help.
Last week the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said the invasion by tens of millions of army worms was a national emergency for Liberia that could spread across West Africa.
According to the FAO, Liberia currently lacks the financial resources to confront this problem without international assistance. "For the outbreak to be contained without risking further long term harm to the region's agriculture, a hearty supply of bio-pesticides will be required," FAO said in a statement.
Meanwhile the government has established a command center in the town of Gbarnga comprised of top local agriculture officials to track the invaders.
The ministry said international agriculture experts would be arriving early this week to support the government's effort, but it did not say what nations or agencies they were from.
Liberia which already imports more than 70 percent of its staple food, rice, has declared a state of emergency in Bong county at the weekend, appealing for international community to help fight the plague.
The last time swarms of such caterpillars attacked on this scale was in the late 1970s.
By staff writer
© afrol News
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