Armyworm outbreak destroys 148 000ha maize

HARARE - Armyworms has destroyed a fifth of maize crops in Zimbabwe, spreading to all districts in the last few weeks, the Agricultural Technical and Extension Services (Agritex) has said.

Zimbabwe’s maize crop, the staple grain for the impoverished nation, has seen 148 489 hectares out of the total national maize hectarage of 975 913  being devastated  by the voracious pest.

Agritex crop expert Rutendo Nhongonhema said: “This is our preliminary assessment and we are yet to verify the total figures. Fall armyworm infestations are hovering around six to 10 percent for most provinces while the national average is 15 percent.

“In addition to this, about 2 000 hectares of the sorghum crop has been infested across the country. The exercise is still ongoing and we will have fully verified figures soon.”

The fall armyworms, are caterpillars that “march” across the landscape in large groups feasting on young maize plants, wiping out entire fields.

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