Fall army­worm af­fects seven prov­inces

The Herald (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Elita Chik­wati Se­nior Agri­cul­ture Re­porter

THE fall army­worm has now af­fected seven prov­inces, with re­spon­si­ble au­thor­i­ties in­ten­si­fy­ing mon­i­tor­ing and as­sess­ment to curb fur­ther in­va­sion, Gov­ern­ment has said.

Depart­ment of Plant Pro­tec­tion and Re­search In­sti­tute chief en­to­mol­o­gist Dr God­frey Chik­wen­here con­firmed that the pest had af­fected Mata­bele­land South, Mata­bele­land North, Mid­lands, Man­i­ca­land, Mashona­land Cen­tral, Mashona­land West and Mashona­land East.

Masvingo is the only farm­ing prov­ince that has not re­ported cases of the fall army­worm.

Mr Chik­wen­here said teams from his depart­ment were on the ground mon­i­tor­ing the sit­u­a­tion and as­sess­ing the ex­tent of the dam­age caused by the pest.

“Seven out of eight prov­inces have been af­fected by the pest,” he said. “It is wor­ry­ing that most farm­ers and some ex­ten­sion of­fi­cers can­not cal­cu­late the dam­age. We are car­ry­ing out aware­ness cam­paigns coun­try­wide and at the same time go­ing to teach farm­ers and Agri­tex of­fi­cers on cal­cu­lat­ing the dam­age caused by the army­worm. We are start­ing with Mata­bele­land North and Mata­bele­land South.”

Dr Chik­wen­here said Gov­ern­ment de­ployed chem­i­cals across the coun­try for the con­trol of the fall army­worm. Fall army­worm is a new pest in Zim­babwe and causes ex­ten­sive dam­age to maize if not con­trolled prop­erly and on time. The pest has 10 to 12 cy­cles and can con­tinue re­cur­ring af­ter the first spray.

“Farm­ers are, there­fore, urged to con­tinue scout­ing their crop and in­form rel­e­vant au­thor­i­ties if they have prob­lems with the pest,” he said.

The fall army­worm should be con­trolled dur­ing the early days of its life to re­duce the rate of re­cur­rence.

“Con­trol­ling of fall army­worm is done us­ing Car­baryl 85 per­cent Wet­table Pow­der at high dosage rates of 300-400g per 15 litres wa­ter to ef­fec­tively con­trol the pest at full cover spray,” said Dr Chik­wen­here.

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