Fall armyworm raises hunger threat in Gwanda

GWANDA - The fall armyworm is threatening food production and the livelihoods of farmers already struggling with pervasive hardships in Gwanda. 

The fall armyworm has wiped out 30 percent of the maize crop in the province, according to agriculture information portal, Farmers Voice .

The larvae form of fall armyworm prefers maize, but can feed on more than 80 plant species including rice, sorghum, millet, sugarcane, vegetable crops and cotton, according to the United Nations’ Food and Agricultural Organisation (Fao).

The Gwanda communal farmers have been grappling with high costs of chemicals to control the fall armyworm.

This emerged at a fall armyworm management demonstration field day at Manonokwe Village in ward 4 Gwanda North, according to Farmers Voice.

“The costs of the pesticides are beyond the reach of many forcing us to explore other methods, which do not work,” farmers were quoted.

In the hope of addressing these challenges the ministry of Agriculture, Lands and Rural Resettlement visited the area to train the community on possible management of the lethal fall armyworm.

The acting head of the Plant Protection Research Institute Shingirayi Nyamutukwa said the trick lies in the ability of farmers to destroy the pest in its early stages of growth.

“In Gwanda the crop is heavily infested, in a field you find hundred percent infestation level but that does not mean farmers will not get anything.

“With early control, they can get yields and that is why we are here to impart knowledge to the community,” he said.

Provincial crop and livestock specialist Mkhujulelwa Ndlovu called on other stakeholders to work with government in the management of the fall armyworm.

“We appeal to stakeholders to help government to deal effectively with this problem as the ministry is sometimes resource-constrained.

“Support from our partners will go a long way in ensuring that we are food secure as a country,” said Ndlovu. 

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.