Ministry to release crop damages report soon

The Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development is yet to produce a report to determine the gravity of damages caused by a recent outbreak of African armyworms that affected the districts of Salima, Nkhotakota and Chitipa.

Last week, crops in the three district, were attacked by an outbreak of African army worms, a moth which mainly attack maize.

Spokesperson for the ministry, Priscilla Mateyu, said the work of spraying peptides to deal with the worms is currently underway with support from the ministry.

Mateyu said: “So far our people are on the ground spraying the pesticides and there is all the hope that the situation will be contained soon.

“At the moment we can’t tell how much damage has been done but any day from now we will have a report on the damages but we believe the damage wasn’t intense because our people moved in quickly.”

However she assured that the ministry has enough resources to contain the situation and sensitization activities have been conducted to ensure farmers are fully aware of the challenge so that they can ably assist in containing the situation.

African armyworms are different from fall armyworms that have also destroyed crops during the previous farming seasons and according to Mateyu, so far the ministry has not received any reports of any resurgent of fall armyworms.

During the 2019/2020 physical year budget for the ministry of agriculture, K500 million was allocated toward the fight against any outbreak of armyworms.

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