By Moses Nyati & Taonga Kantini
In an effort to mitigate the impact that Fall Armyworms (FAW)has posed on the farming community this season, government through the Ministry of Agriculture has distributed over 5,000litres of Fall armyworms chemicals in Central Province.
In an exclusive interview with National Agricultural Information Services (NAIS), Central Province Agricultural Coordinator Etambuyu Anamela disclosed that the province has so far received a total 5,553 litres of Emmamectin Benzoate to help manage and control fall armyworms that has affected over forty-two per cent of the maize crop in the province.
The Provincial Agricultural Coordinator (PACO) said the province has a cumulative affected area of 50,996.7ha and about 64,966households have been affected by the fall armyworms with Kapiri Mposhi being the most affected district.
Ms. Anamela has however applauded government for the quick intervention of distributing the FAW chemicals saying this gesture was timely and would help alleviate the impact that the pest would have had on the productivity of the maize crop in the province.
The Provincial Agricultural Coordinator said the fall armyworms chemicals has so far been dispatched to all the eleven districts of the province and distribution to farmer beneficiary is currently underway.
The PACO has called for responsible and judicious use of the chemicals by farmers by adhering to label instructions.
Ms. Anamela also disclosed that the Ministry has been proactive in the fight against that pest by successfully training over 250 extension officers in Integrated Pest Management (IPM)and that training of over 134,500 farmers was currently underway in the various districts of the province.
She added that apart from monitoring fall army worms infestation, the Ministry was also monitoring the prevalence of other crop pests and diseases such as beetles in soyabeans.
And Luano District Agricultural Coordinator, Roy Kalipenta, has strongly encouraged farmers to adopt proactive measures such as vigilant monitoring of crops for early signs of infestation.
Mr. Kalipenta called on farmers in the district to invest in readily available pesticides and implementing timely applications should be prioritized over solely relying on government assistance as well as exploring alternative control methods such as bio-pesticides and manual removal of larvae can provide valuable supplementary protection.
Implementing strategies such as intercropping, crop rotation, and utilizing pest-resistant maize varieties can disrupt the Pest's lifecycle and enhance the resilience of their farms. Additionally, incorporating smart agricultural techniques into their practices can offer farmers long-term benefits in combating fall armyworms.