Caterpillars Attack Bong, Lofa, Gbarpolu

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Caterpillars suspected on farmers’ farm in Bong_web.jpg

Reports reaching this paper have it that caterpillars are on the rampage destroying crops and polluting waters in Lofa, Bong and Gbarpolu Counties.

At least 17 communities in Zota, Suakoko, and Sanoyea districts, Bong County are being affected by the infestation of the Achaea caterpillar species.

The outbreak of the pests (caterpillar) in those communities is said to have damaged crops and displaced some residents.

The report disclosed that the caterpillars are found in the dahoma trees in great number and are polluting creeks in various towns with their feces.

At the same time, this paper has also received information that the outbreak is reported in some parts of Gbarpolu and Lofa Counties.

A local farmer in Salayea, Lofa County, Henry Sumo, said that about four farming communities a few miles away from Salayea town, have been affected by the outbreak.

Sumo told our reporter by mobile phone that the situation was worrisome and needed urgent attention.

“Many of the farmers fear to travel to the farms due to the effect of the pests. It is discovered that crops on the farms are damaged,” he said.

According to him, the outbreak occurred a  few weeks ago.

“This issue has been brought to the attention of the local authorities, who are making effort to contact government,” he mentioned.

When contacted, the Assistant Minister for Technical Services at the Ministry of Agriculture, Chea Garley confirmed the reports of the outbreak of the caterpillars in the country.

He said that the MoA has dispatched technicians in the fields to the counties affected to combat the situations.   

This is the second time an outbreak of the Achaea species caterpillar has occurred since the end of Liberia’s 14-year civil crisis.

According to media reports, the first caterpillar incidence occurred in 2009, affecting an estimated 400,000 people in 103 villages.

The situation led to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf declaring a state of emergency in Liberia.

The outbreak was attributed a longer than usual rainy season in the country.

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