According to a statement by DAFF, a diagnostic report was sent through from the Agricultural Research Council, Plant Protection Research Institute (ARC PPRI), which confirmed that the Fall Army Worm was positively identified from samples collected in the Limpopo Province.
The caterpillars had to pupate and emerge as moths before a positive identification could be done, said the statement.
FAW is a quarantine pest, which has the potential to affect crops such as maize, sorghum, soybeans, groundnuts and potatoes.
Damage to crops has already been reported mainly on yellow maize varieties like sweetcorn and maize planted for seed production.
DAFF says the South African Emergency Plant Pest Response Plan is already in motion, and will implement proper actions, depending on the spread and extent of the damage.
From next week, the department will be approving various products to combat FAW.
For more information on pesticide usage visit www.daff.gov.za.
Grain producers are encouraged to report suspected detection of this pest to Jan Hendrik Venter on: 012 3196384, 0723488431 or [email protected].