Mat South gets chemicals to fight fall armyworms

Source: Mat South gets chemicals to fight fall armyworms – Sunday News Feb 12, 2017

Nokukhanya Moyo, Sunday News Reporter
THE Government has availed chemicals enough to cover 2 000 hectares of land to deal with the fall armyworm in Matabeleland South Province.

Fall armyworm was first reported in Midlands but three weeks ago, it spread to most parts of the Matabeleland region.

Matabeleland South provincial Agritex officer Mr Masauso Mawocha said they have dispatched teams to help farmers deal with the pest.

“Fall armyworm is now under control because we have delegated a team that will move around the province spraying and they will also teach farmers on how to use the spraying chemicals. The chemicals will cover more than 2 000 hectares,” he said, although he declined to divulge how much the chemicals are worth.

He said all the districts in the province have been affected by the fall armyworm with Matobo being the hardest hit. Mr Mawocha encouraged farmers to also use indigenous ways of getting rid of armyworms because, it is not every time the Government will be able to make available the chemicals.

“Farmers should give themselves time to teach and engage each other on how to use indigenous ways of dealing with the armyworm because they are a lot of ways they can use,” he said.

During a tour of the province last week, he said it was also noted that despite the armyworm setback most farmers were set to record bumper harvests.

“But in Beitbridge it is dry because most areas have received little rainfall,” said Mr Mawocha.

Fall armyworm is common in the United States of America and it is suspected it came with imported maize.

Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development’s Department of Plant Protection and Research Institute chief entomologist Dr Godfrey Chikwenhere said the pest had 12 cycles and could continue recurring after the first spray. He urged farmers to continue checking their crop even after spraying.

Dr Chikwenhere said the fall armyworm should be controlled during the early days of its life to reduce the rate of recurrence. He said if left to grow, it would require more chemicals to control and could also become resistant to the chemicals.