The Inquirer (Monrovia)

23 June 2014

Liberia: Caterpillars Invade Several Counties

Photo: Darius Baužys/Flickr
Some residents say they are fleeing to escape the trail of excrement that the caterpillars leave behind.

Caterpillars have again invaded several counties in Liberia, according to Deputy Agriculture Minister of Agriculture for Technical Services, Dr. Sizi B. Subah.

Addressing the regular press briefing of the Ministry of Health & Social Welfare recently, Dr. Subah disclosed that the caterpillars have invaded Maryland, Margibi, Montserrado, Bong, Lofa and Nimba counties.

Dr. Subah said the caterpillars which travel in huge numbers are a threat to agricultural crops. He clarified that the caterpillars are not army worms as being speculated but pests that live on green leaves in the forest.

Dr. Subah then linked the latest infestation to "climate change." The pests, he said, have the capacity to destroy large areas since they feed on the leaves of cash crops like coffee, cocoa and vegetables during the larva stage before developing into full blown butterflies.

He recalled the destructive activities of caterpillars in 2009, which prompted the government to declare "a national agricultural emergency," when a large segment of the country was infested. He said the Ministry of Agriculture has sent a team of experts to find ways of embattling the pests that are destroying many farms in the counties.

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