Gweru (The Times-New Ziana) – Gweru district in the Midlands province is on high alert and well prepared to deal with an outbreak of the African fall army worm which has caused anxious moments in other parts of the country, an Agritex official has said.
The assurance comes following reports that the district was under siege from the migrant pest.
District Agricultural Extension Officer Edmore Mubayiwa Mangwana said the district was well prepared to fight the deadly Africa army worm.
Mangwana said the department had set up a team to deal with the situation.
“We have enough chemicals in stock, we received a consignment from Harare over the weekend and our staff members are on the ground in full force spraying areas that are most likely to be affected with help from surrounding farmers,” he said.
Areas along Matobo Road such as Sunrise, Amper farm, Nima, Julena and Sunset farm were on high alert for the pest.
Mangwana said the outbreak was not threatening the crop situation in the district as effects of the worm were insignificant as compared to the dry spell that was experienced at the beginning of the 2019/20 cropping season.
“At the moment it is still premature and the attack is in its infancy stages. It is too early to predict that the crops have been affected as we are controlling the pest. It is only the drought that has had visible effects on the crops.”
He said although there were chemicals to control the pest, farmers should make use of other traditional methods of controlling African army worm including destroying heavy vegetation such as star grass which the pest uses as hatcheries.
Farmers who cannot afford buying the pesticide on their own should resort to group funding so as to get rid of the deadly pest, he said.
“I advise farmers that if they cannot afford to buy Carbaryl 85% WP as individuals, they can do group funding so as to make it cheaper for them to control the army worm as it costs about ZWL $500 per bag,” he said.
“Farmers should report any suspicious worm in their areas to the nearest Agritex office before it turns into a matter of urgency,” added Mangwana.
He urged farmers to start preparing land for crops like sugar beans, cow peas, sunflowers and sweet potatoes so that they improve on their food security.
The Times-New Ziana