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Tuesday, 06 February 2018 10:35

Destructive Fall armyworms affect 33,948 farmers in Dedza

Written by  Sellah Singini

 

Dedza, February 06, 2018: A total of 33,948 farming households have been affected by fall armyworms in Dedza, raising fears there may be a reduction in maize production during this farming season, Agriculture officials have confirmed.

Speaking in an interview with the Malawi News Agency ,Crops Officer at Dedza Agriculture Office, John Malunga said a total of 11,733 hectares of maize have been affected by the fall armyworm rendering 33,948 households prone to facing food shortage in the 2017/2018 harvesting season .

“Dedza has a total cultivatable land of 229,462 hectares with 227,462.2 hectares under smallholder farming and 1,999.8 hectares under estates. And out of 75,211 hectares which were grown to maize 11,733 have been affected by the pest,” Malunga said.

“To date 11,733 hectares have been affected involving 33,948 households, while 7,201 hectares have so far been sprayed using different pesticides which were supplied by Government through Lilongwe ADD and United Purpose Organisation and issuing of chemicals to farmers is underway in groups so that spraying is done together as a cluster,” he added.

He said that Dedza was supplied with 1,191 litres of pesticides and about 818 litres have been used by farmers and they are remaining with 496 litres of the pesticides and that other farmers are using usipa soup as one way of dealing with armyworm which he said was working.

Malunga Further said that maize production harvest for Dedza has been reduced by seven percent according to preliminary projected estimates due to dry spell and the fall armyworm in various sections of the district.

“The district experienced dry spell from 26 December, 2017 to 12 January, 2018 in most sections across the district and this has caused wilting of crops and increased outbreak of the fall armyworm,” bemoaned Malunga.

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