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Environment

China finds fall armyworm in northeast cornbelt

BEIJING (Reuters) - China has found destructive fall armyworm in Liaoning province in its northeastern cornbelt for the first time, state media reported on Friday.

The destructive pest, which first arrived in China in January 2019, is moving north across the country at a much faster pace lately, due to the impact of Typhoon Hagupit, Beijing News said, citing plant protection authorities.

The report comes as China moves to guarantee food security as various disruptions like flooding, drought and a global coronavirus pandemic, threatened to disrupt its grains supplies.

The insect was also detected in Shunyi district in Beijing 10 days earlier than when the pest reached the capital city last year, according to Beijing News.

Fall armyworms hit over a million hectares of farmland in China last year, damaging mainly corn and sugarcane crops, according to an official report.

The government has warned about the likelihood of it hitting China’s northeastern cornbelt this year and said that danger from the pest would be more severe in 2020.

Armyworm has hit 15.99 million mu (1.07 million hectares) of farmland in 24 provinces so far this year, including Liaoning province, according to government statistics gathered till Aug. 13, Beijing news reported.

China’s northeastern region, including Heilongjiang, Jilin, Liaoning provinces and the Inner Mongolia region, is known as the grain basket of the world’s most populous nation, producing about half of the country’s corn.

Reporting by Hallie Gu and Dominique Patton; Editing by Kim Coghill

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