Amta worried about worm outbreak

08 Feb 2017 16:40pm
ONGWEDIVA, 08 FEB (NAMPA) - The Namibian Agro-Marketing and Trade Agency (Amta) said it too could badly be affected by the recent worm outbreaks being experienced in the country’s northern regions.
The worms have been identified by the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF) as army worms, bollworms and stalk borers.
Various parts of the northern regions such as the Omusati, Ohangwena, Kavango East and Kavango West regions have been overrun by the worm infestation, which has sown devastation among these communities since late last year.
The worms are targeting maize, millet and sorghum crops mainly and have already destroyed about 50 per cent of the crops at the Etunda Green Scheme Irrigation in the Omusati Region as well as crops in the Zambezi Region.
Amta was established by the MAWF to manage Fresh Produce Business Hubs and national strategic food reserve facilities.
The company’s Senior Manager for National Strategic Food Reserves, Wilhelmina Handunge said it is still early to tell whether their supplies will be affected or not because the rainy season is still at its early stages.
“With the government’s intervention on this situation, this could still work out for the best,” Handunge told Nampa on Tuesday.
The MAWF has since late last month availed pesticides, spraying machinery and other equipment to control the spread of the worms.
She said grains in their silos currently will be distributed to subsistence farmers who were affected by drought as well as flood victims.
“We get most of our supplies from green schemes and local suppliers who manage to harvest enough for their families and still remain with excess grains, which we buy,” said Handunge.
She added that Amta does not import grains to fill its silos and depends mainly on the green schemes. However, if this year’s harvest is going to be affected, Amta might be forced to import from neighbouring countries.