February 7, 2009

African Countries Join To Fight Caterpillars

Four West African nations are fighting together against a species of caterpillars decimating crops in the area, a statement released on Saturday said.

The agriculture ministers from Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Ivory Coast have joined together to look into Achaea Catocaloides caterpillars, which have laid serious waste to many of their crops.

The caterpillars have devastated areas of central Liberia and southern Guinea, and other countries in the area are worried that the damage will widen to their regions.

"The five-man technical committee will begin work immediately," the ministers from the four countries forming the Mano River Union announced after meeting together in Monrovia Friday.

"They will design plans of action that will be implemented by all member countries."

A specialist from Brazil is already at work with Liberia, and will aid the committee.

Liberia's agriculture minister announced earlier this week that the caterpillars were not a kind of armyworm as thought, but the Achaea Catocaloides species, a vicious, brutal kind of worm.

Experts cautioned that the insects might harass a larger amount of crops than the armyworm, counting coffee and cocoa.


Image Caption: Chocolate is created from the cocoa bean. A cacao tree with fruit pods in various stages of ripening. Ivory Coast is the world's largest cocoa manufacturer and several of its plantations are to the west of a region that shares a border with Liberia.