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Uganda fights crop-devouring armyworm, blaming climate change

Uganda's government said on Tuesday it was deploying pesticides to fight an outbreak of African armyworm, which devastates cereal crops and has been discovered in 35 districts of the country.

Uganda is a significant maize producer and exports a large part of its annual output to neighbouring countries including South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo and Kenya.

Delayed rains in many parts of the east African country pushed back crop planting for the first season of this year, meaning most crops are still young when the impact of the an armyworm attack is most devastating.

Uganda has previously suffered from the pest, which become moths. Its name derives from the fact it marches across the landscape in large groups while in the caterpillar stage, feasting on young plants and wiping out entire fields.

"The severity and extent of outbreaks are increased by extended drought periods followed by early season rainstorms that facilitate migration of the moths," the agriculture ministry said in a statement.

By Reuters

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