African Armyworm Spreads to 38 Districts-MAAIF

Written by on April 12, 2022

The devastative African armyworm has now spread to 38 districts, according to the  Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry And Fisheries-MAAIF. A statement by the Ministry shows that the worm has almost reached every region in the country and affected over 1,407 farmers on 5,415 hectares of land.

According to Fred Bwino Kyakulaga, the minister of state for agriculture, the cereal eating worm (Spodoptera exempta), was first reported in Luwero district late last month. However, it has now spread to Mukono, Wakiso, Mityana, Kiboga, Lyantonde, and Nakaseke districts, all in the central region.

The pest has also reached Amuria, Soroti, Katakwi, Bugweri, Bukedea, Serere, Busia, Bugiri, Bukwo, Bulambuli, Namutumba, Kumi, Luuka, Kaliro, Mbale, Kaberamaido, Nakapiripiriti and Tororo in the east and northeastern parts.

Whereas in the western, southwest, and northern parts, it has affected Kwania, Oyam, Nwoya, Apac Amolatar, Kikuube, Lira, Kisoro, Kiryandongo, Hoima, Kasese, and Masindi. Kyakulaga says the pest is suspected to have migrated from neighbouring countries with high temperatures. It feeds on cereals including maize, sorghum, as well as pasture sugarcane and millet.

Kyakulaga revealed that the MAAIF has made several interventions to contain the spread of the worms before they turn into a pandemic. The interventions include the procurement of over 20,000 litres of Cypermethrin 5EC pesticide, 100 motorised pumps, and 200 sets of protective gear valued at Shillings 600 million.

he minister has urged farmers to destroy suspicious eggs on their cereal plants and to ensure safety. He has advised the farmers to mix 100 – 120 mls of Cypermethrin 5EC in 20 litres of water and spray their crops. The pesticide can be accessed from extension workers and private agricultural shops at Shillings 20,000 a liter.

He also added that for infected pasture land, a buffer spray should be done at the edge of the affected area or digging a ditch as a measure to protect the unaffected part as the inward affected space is sprayed. Grazing must be withdrawn for 7-10 days.

Stephen Tibiyijuka, the Director of crop resources in the MAAIF, says that after spraying the affected part, the farmers should observe the area for four days.

David Kasura Kyomukama, the MAAIF Permanent secretary, says that the prevalence of armyworms is a consequence of climate change, which must be resolved quickly to avoid more problems.

He says that it is very fortunate that the outbreak has occurred in the early season of planting, saying this gives room for more planting when the problem is solved.

“What we need to do is to make sure that this pest doesn’t spread further that’s why we are intervening with such force to contain it in the areas where it has so far reached,” he explained.

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