The so-called “fall armyworm” pest is a “new threat” to agriculture and the economy of Southern Africa which has already spread to seven countries since the beginning of the year.
That’s according to an emergency meeting convened by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in the Zimbabwean capital, Harare, this week, to work out how best to respond to the rapidly growing threat.
Southern Africa’s latest drought will “hugely increase” the amount of food-insecurity suffered by millions across the region.
That’s the view of Neil Marsland from the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO).
He said the drought was the worst in 35 years and a direct consequence of the El Nino weather phenomenon.
Another xenophobic attack in South Africa and refugees on the move across the Malawi border are a major cause for concern, according to UN agencies in the region.
More than 100 refugees fled into Malawi from Mozambique in July following clashes between government forces and gunmen from the former rebel movement, RENAMO.
And further south, hundreds of immigrants in the South African city of Grahamstown fled their homes after coming under attack.