Fall Armyworm Outbreak Strikes Four Provinces, Agricultural Concerns Rise”
Over 160 hectares have been invaded by the African armyworm in four provinces so far this year, according to Shingirayi Nyamutukwa, acting director responsible for migratory pests in the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development,.
On Monday, he said a total of 164.5 hectares had been affected, 54.83 hectares being sorghum, and 32 hectares grazing pastures.
Nyamutukwa said the fall armyworm had been reported in Mashonaland East, Mashonaland Central, Midlands and Mashonaland West provinces.
Mashonaland East province was the first to report an outbreak in December last year.
But outbreaks in Zvimba and Makonde districts in Mashonaland West were the worst, according to Nyamutukwa.
“What we are currently experiencing is that we are receiving more and more reports (of outbreaks) with a total number of at least 234 farmers that we have assisted in terms of provision of chemicals for African Armyworm control,” he said.
He said the outbreaks were expected to worsen due to the break in the rains, and implored farmers to frequently scout their fields, daily if possible, for any pests.
“In most cases these caterpillars move in large numbers and they have a velvet black colour in appearance, so once farmers see these they should report immediately to the nearest Agritex officer and then we should be able to move in swiftly in terms of provision of chemicals so that they can be able to control the caterpillars well in time,” he said. NewZiana