Fall armyworm outbreak expected

22 Oct 2017 14:40pm
WINDHOEK, 22 OCT (NAMPA) – The Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry has warned of a possible outbreak of fall armyworms in southern Africa during the 2017/18 crop season.
In an interview with Nampa recently, the ministry’s Permanent Secretary (PS), Percy Misika said with the good rainfall expected in the coming rainy season, the chances of an outbreak are high.
Misika said the outbreak will be a consequence of the insect’s life cycle. Insects in the pupal stage in winter only start hatching once the weather conditions become more favourable.
“As part of preparation, the ministry worked hard to create awareness of fall armyworms among the farmers for them to be able to take action on time,” he said.
With support from the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations, about 30 agricultural scientific officers and technicians from the ministry were trained in how to handle fall armyworms.
“The training focused on strengthening their capacity on pest diagnostics, monitoring, containment and pest damage symptoms and available management options,” said Misika.
After the agricultural officers and technicians completed their training, they passed the knowledge on to farmers in their respective regions.
The PS said with regards to prevention measures, the ministry received insect traps that use pheromones to lure insects from the FAO and these will be placed randomly in farmers’ fields.
“The traps will help farmers to monitor the presence of mature moths in the field and this will serve as a warning system for farmers to start visiting and walking through their fields at least once a week,” said Misika.
He further said the ministry also procured limited pesticides to assist farmers, however farmers are urged to procure available pesticides from registered agro-chemical dealers across the country.