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Sunday, 19 August 2018 13:21

Govt ready to control Fall Army Worm

Written by  Charles Mphwere

Blantyre,  August 13, 2018: The Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development says it is stockpiling anti Fall Army Worm chemicals as well as securing worm traps as preparatory measures in an event of another Fall Army Worm outbreak.

The country has been at the mercy of Fall Army worms since 2016, a situation that has sounded an alarm that the outbreak may also affect crops in the coming growing season.

Public Relations Officer in the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, Osborn Tsoka, in an interview with Malawi News Agency on Friday said the ministry is fully prepared in an event of an outbreak of the Fall Army Worm.
 
“As a ministry, we are prepared in the event that we have another outbreak. The areas that we are targeting are the procurement of chemicals for the control of the worm and the provision of training to communities in relation to the control of the worm,” he said.

He further said the ministry is also exploring long- term solutions like coming up with varieties of both maize and sorghum that can withstand Fall Army Worm attacks.

“We are also trying to identify biological agents that can control Fall Army Worms. We have also discussed with seed companies to see the possibility of conducting seed dressing so as to have seeds that can withstand the pest,” he said.

Famers’ Union of Malawi President, Alfred Kapichira Banda said what was important was to find long term solution in the fight against Fall Army Worms.

“For several years, famers have suffered. I think its high time the government had advanced referral agriculture laboratories, say, in South Africa so that famers in the country are assisted with good pesticides or a pest that can eradicate this Fall Army worm in the country,” said Banda.

The pest has been causing havoc in the country for several decades now, the latest onslaught being the past two growing seasons of 2016/17 and 2017/18. Statistics show that in 2017/18, 206 hectares of maize and sorghum were destroyed and that Blantyre and Machinga were the hardest hit district.

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