RUNDU - The ministry of agriculture has issued a public notice to farmers and general public about the fall armyworm outbreak that has hit the Zambezi Region. The ministry also cautioned against the threat of African armyworms in Oshana, Oshikoto and Omusati regions.
In a statement yesterday, the ministry said the fall armyworm outbreak was reported over two weeks ago in areas such as Sibbinda, Kongola, Ngoma, Bukalo, Itomba, Nsundwa, Kasheshe and Musanga in Zambezi.
“Several hectares of farmland are adversely affected by the worms. The crops in these areas are at different growth stages – from germination, vegetative to flowering stages, which is highly susceptible to fall armyworms and African armyworms,” said agriculture ministry spokesperson Margaret Kalo.
Kalo noted that remedial action against the outbreaks in the mentioned regions are in force and those affected were directed to start with the spraying programme with immediate effect to contain the pests in areas where they have been reported.
She also added that the fall armyworm is a challenge because it reproduces fast and in larger numbers, and can migrate long distances, hides within the growing leaves and is also resistant to several pesticides. “All the crop growing regions were directed to intensify awareness campaigns through the local radio service to educate the farmers on the identification, ecology and control of the pest,” she noted.
She also said that the ministry will continue with surveillance, using pheromone traps in areas which are not yet reported to be affected by the pest to ensure timely control of the outbreak.