Harare (New Ziana)-Farmers should be on the lookout and report any suspicious pests to Agritex officers so that any outbreak can be contained, an official said on Thursday.
During the rainy season, several pests and diseases attack crops with some wiping off the whole field.
Acting director responsible for Migratory pests and bio security control in the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Fisheries and Rural Ressetlement Shingirai Nyamutukwa told New Ziana that one such pest to watch out for was the African armyworm.
An African armyworm outbreak is a sudden occurrence of caterpillars in very large numbers causing extensive damage to farmers’ crops.
The African armyworm moths come with the Inter Tropical Convergence Zone winds that bring rains into Zimbabwe from Tanzania then lay eggs in areas where host plants are growing.
Nyamutukwa said pests were a threat to crops and if not controlled, they could reduce yields.
“Government buys chemicals for such pests. We encourage farmers to scout their fields for worms such as African armyworms and stalk borers.
“They should be on the lookout because once it reaches us, the crops can be wiped off. We are encouraging them to report to their nearest Agritex officers so that we assist them in terms of control,” he said adding; “There is no outbreak yet”.
The last African armyworm outbreak was experienced in Zimbabwe in January this year in the Muzarabani area of Mashonaland West province.
The armyworm damages cereal crops such as maize, sorghum and millet.