11 December 2017
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Wednesday, 15 February 2017 13:41

PS bang heads with officers on new armyworm

Written by  Daniel Kasondo

Ntchisi, February 15, 2017:  The Principal Secretary for Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, Eric Maganga, on Monday, Ntchisi, banged heads with her directors, senior officers from Kasungu Agriculture Development Division (ADD) and Ntchisi Agriculture Office on how the newly discovered fall armyworm could be dealt with to protect the maize crop in the gardens.

The new army worm which has affected a lot of maize gardens in Ntchisi and other districts in Malawi, multiplies so fast, and is said to be stubborn as it hides and destroys the maize stalk continuously throughout the plant's growth span.

Speaking during the visit, Maganga, said she wanted to established the extent of the problem of the new army worm in the district.

"There's extensive damage to maize crops in Ntchisi which requires urgent action by our ministry. I thank Ntchisi Agriculture Office for being pro-active by distributing pesticides after receiving reports from farmers," she said.

Maganga said her ministry will soon start distributing pesticides to all the affected farmers in the district to contain the situation which is spreading so fast.

“I have instructed my officers to bring the pesticides as soon as possible so we protect the maize in the gardens. I have also instructed the extension workers to go out in full swing to teach farmer's on how they can spray the pesticides to kill the new army worm, which needs proper spraying  by targeting the affected crop focusing on the funnel," said Maganga.

The representative of Ntchisi District Agriculture Development Officer, Cecil Magomero, said currently four Extension Planning Areas of the district were affected by the pests, representing 916 hectares.

Magomero said the district office tried to sensitive the farmers on the new army worm and taught them on how they   could mix the pesticides to deal with the worm but most farmer's reported no change as the situation worsened  by day.

"We gave out 50 litres of pesticides for a start, but it seems the application was not properly done and the worm kept destroying the crops. With the full support from ministry and farmers better knowledge on the worm after meetings with extension workers, we hope the fall armyworm will be dealt with," said Magomero.

The fall armyworm was reported to have been noticed in December 2016 in Malawi but has caused problems in countries like Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique.

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