Farmers in Salima are worried about a fresh outbreak of African Armyworms that are eating away maize fields in some cases completely destroying crops.
Farmer Simon Wadale told Zodiak Online the situation is dire and requiring urgent reaction by authorities as “the worms are more destructive than fall army worms.
“We do not know what to do. This pest is more distractive.Once it enters the field, everything, including grass, is gone,” Wadale said.
The District Agricultural Development Officer in Karonga, Raphael Nkisi, says crop fields in the area known as Nyungwe have also been attacked.
“…bout five hectors were attacked. We rushed (there) with pesticides to spray. We believe it has been contained,” said Nkisi.
He added that there is still need for farmers to be on the lookout after planting their crops so that they can immediately notice the pest.
Meanwhile spokesperson in the ministry of Agriculture, Priscilla Mateyo, says at least 16,000 hectares of crop fields have so far been affected in Salima. Extent of damage is yet to be determined in other districts.
“It is true some fields in Salima, Mangochi, Ntchisi, Nkhotakota have been attacked. Mzimba and Rumphi as well. African Army works are destroying crops. We are on the ground distributing pesticides,” she said.
Farmers in these areas are being encouraged to replant.
For at least five years now, Malawi has been grappling with the outbreak of fall army worms whose solution is yet to be found.