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Provincial Newspapers The Times

Armyworm outbreak in Midlands


GWERU – At least four provinces in the country have been hit by the destructive armyworm threatening food security if left unchecked and government has since advised farmers to scout and take preventative measure.

Outbreaks of the African armyworm in the country have been reported from Mashonaland East, Mashonaland West, Mashonaland Central as well as Midlands.

The Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development through its Acting Director for the Migratory Pests Control department, Shingirayi Nyamutukwa, said it had received reports about the pests from the four provinces as of December 25 last year.

The outbreak has come along with the devastation of a lot of crops and grazing pastures.

“As of today a total of 164,5 hectares have been affected and a total of 54.83 hectares of sorghum as well as less than one hectare of finger millet have been attacked by African armyworms.

“In terms of pastures, we have at least 32 hectares that have been also damaged,” said Nyamutukwa.
At least 234 farmers have been assisted with chemicals to support the government’s efforts in fighting the armyworms.

“We have at least 234 farmers who we have assisted to acquire chemicals to control the armyworm and as the government we have provided chemicals and we are currently assisting farmers on control,” Nyamutukwa said.

The rains have since subsided and the problem of armyworms is predicted to spread if not monitored, hence farmers have been encouraged to practice religious scouting of their fields and report any signs of the worm to the nearest Agritex office for action to protect the crops since there is no more time for replanting.

“We are encouraging our farmers to frequently scout their fields to identify and immediately report to the nearest Agritex officer and then we should be able to move in swiftly with chemicals to control in time because this season we are not expecting to be a very long one since our farmers planted late, we no longer have time for replanting,” added Nyamutukwa.

Farmers welcomed the government’s initiative to control the armyworms as they had not budgeted money to buy chemicals to control the pests.

“Already some farmers are counting their loses because of this menacing armyworm which is wreaking havoc on farms. The Agritex department should promptly move in and assist us with the chemicals because we had already bought other inputs with our money,” said Luke Matsaira, a farmer in Kwekwe.

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