Bollworm attack on cotton

Source: Bollworm attack on cotton needs pesticides | The Herald January 31, 2017

Martin Kadzere recently in Chiredzi —
HEAVY rains being received in some parts of the Lowveld have exposed the cotton crop to bollworms, a development that may affect yields if untreated, farmers and officials said last week.

While the problem is not widespread, it could worsen if enough chemicals that protects the crop are not provided on time.

“We have some areas with early planted crop, which is now at the stage of ball formation and the crop is now prone to bollworm attack,” said Chiredzi Transit area manager Mr Munyaradzi Chikasha, adding that the level of infestation was not widespread but “need to be urgently contained.”

Government, through The Cotton Company of Zimbabwe is providing free inputs, including seed and fertilisers.

But some areas have not received enough pesticides. The distribution of chemicals has also been affected as some areas are not accessible because the roads have been extensively damaged by the rains.

Mr Chikasha said unusually excessive rains being received in the Lowveld may hasten the spread of the bollworms.  Cotton Marketers Association of Zimbabwe vice chairman Mr Morris Mukwe said there was need to urgently take action to contain the situation.

“We really need to take action in the next one to two weeks otherwise the yields will be adversely affected,” said Mr Mukwe.

Cottco senior area manager for Chiredzi Ms Marjorie Chiniwa said while the company distributed chemicals, the pesticides were not enough.

“Amolst every household established the crop this year. We distributed some chemicals but they are not enough,” said Ms Chiniwa.

“But the situation can be contained if we get enough chemicals.”

Meanwhile, the established crop is in good to excellent condition thanks to the good rains. Cottco contracted 36 000 growers from 21 000 last season. Farmers who were interviewed described the season “as one of the best” since 2000.

“This is one of the best season in some many years and I am looking forward to a good yield,” Mr Norman Ziyandiga, chairman for local farmers in Chiredzi-Checheche area said.

Mrs Raina Chitokwani, 32, who planted 10 hectares in Mkwazi area said she got enough inputs and is expecting to harvest in excess of 80 bales. Mr Bester Magadzire, 37, said he was expecting some handsome profits from the sale of his crop.