By Alfred Mthandizi
Salima Agricultural Development Division (ADD), Program Manager, Richard Mgemezulu says Salima has registered high yield despite the Fall Armyworm attack. Mgemezulu was speaking in Salima when he hosted journalists on behalf of the Agriculture Network. Mgemezulu said Salima ADD has realised 121,305 during 2015/16 growing season while during this growing season of 2016/17, the ADD has fetched 145,178 representing an increase of 11.9%. The programme Manager said even comparing with the average quantity of five years, the current yields still remain high.
Salima ADD Principal Agricultural Officer Martin Nuka, said the issue of Fall Armyworm is a great concern to the ADD. “As Salima ADD, we are not just watching. What we have done is that we have distributed sprayers in all EPAs so that farmers are able to have it for use in the event of the outbreak. Secondly, we are encouraging our farmers to use cypermethrin and Nova to spray the fall army worms,” Said Nuka.
Deputy Director of communications Hamilton Chimala says the Ministry will continue assisting ADD’s in fighting the fall armyworms. The ministry has always encouraged farmers to monitor their farms. “We are also sensitising the community leaders on proper usage of chemicals,” said Chimala. He says that the Ministry is also encouraging generic solutions by learning from neighbouring countries on how to deal with fall armyworms.
The fall armyworm is part of the order of Lepidoptera and is the larval life stage of a fall armyworm moth. It is regarded as a pest and can wreak havoc with crops, if left to multiply. According to Nuka, the native range of the fall armyworm – Spodoptera frugiperda, spread from North America and rapidly spread across southern Africa. This follows the first reports of its arrival on the African continent in Nigeria in January 2016. Within a year it spread in most parts of Africa. The Fall armyworm is adding to the devastation already caused by the native African armyworm.