Etunda project now battling more aggressive commando worms

17 Feb 2017 17:40pm
ETUNDA, 17 FEB (NAMPA) – The maize plantation at the Etunda Green Scheme Irrigation Project in the Omusati Region has now been attacked by commando worms, Project Manager Albertus Viljoen has said.
Speaking to Nampa at the project on Wednesday, Viljoen said they have been battling with the problem of commando worms since Friday last week.
He pointed out that the project experienced an outbreak of American bollworms since November last year, and the commando worms attack emerged just as the bollworms problem decreased.
Viljoen said harm by commando worms is more serious than that of bollworms, because the commando worms are more aggressive and tough. He explained that commando worms eat both soft and matured parts of the plant, unlike the bollworm that eats only soft parts of the plant.
“Commando worms are seemingly very hungry and as such, finish the grains,” Viljoen said, adding that the larvae produced by moths have a life cycle of up to 30 days.
Thirty hectares (ha) of the 60 ha maize field at the project have been destroyed by bollworms, and the commando worms are likely to cause further destruction.
He said they do not know what the end result will be after the attack by these new worms.
“Thus, we are in need of high level expertise to come advise us on how we can work accordingly to win the fight against the commando worms,” Viljoen pleaded.
He estimated that the project will produce only 70 tonnes of maize of a compromised quality, instead of the estimated 180 to 200 tonnes.
Etunda is anticipated to be the food basket for northern Namibia and beyond, once the project is used to its full potential to generate maize and vegetables.