Dreaded fall armyworm pest that devastated African crops found for the first time in India

A feared crop pest which has caused billions of dollars of agricultural devastation in Africa has been spotted in India for the first time, raising fears it will harm millions of farmers.

The Indian state of Karnataka has reported the continent’s first infestation of fall armyworm which can spread at up to 60 miles a day and has a voracious appetite for maize and other crops.

The moth pest, which devours crops during the caterpillar phase of its lifecycle, has already spread at an alarming rate to neighbouring states. Agricultural experts say it is now likely to head into Southeast Asia and China.

Gopi Ramasamy, India director of the Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International (CABI), said the pest’s impact would be huge.

India grows nearly 22 million tons of maize which is used for…

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