Threatening Pests Take Hold In Africa
By admin April 4, 2017

Tags: , , , ,

Armyworm was first noticed in Africa nearly a year ago and has already “infested hundreds of thousands of hectares of maize across more than a dozen countries on the continent”. More specifically, this was first noticed in Nigeria in January 2016. This infestation is the beginning of a major threat to food security in these countries. Armyworm could wipe out nearly 70 percent of crops. According to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), about 130,000 hectares of maize could be infested in Zimbabwe alone, 90,000 in Zambia, and 50,000 in Namibia. There have been identified areas of infestation in Botswana, Congo, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, South Africa, Swaziland, Togo, and Uganda. Many of these countries are not prepared in the necessary actions to rid of this infestation and the long term results the armyworm will have on their crops and future economical losses. More so, these regions have consequently been struggling with the ongoing drought which has largely already affected their crops.

Ultimately, food security is threatened in these areas. According to Zimbabwe Farmers Union Director Paul Zacariya, “No information or warnings were given…many farmers could not identify the pest and lacked the knowledge and requisite skills on how to contain the damages caused.” Sadly, “the pest could be here to stay,” stated FAO Sub-regional Coordinator for Southern Africa, David Phiri. Methods to control the pest could take a few years to fully develop. Some ideas for immediate reaction would be to free insects such as lacewing, ladybirds, minute pirate bugs, parasitic wasps, and flies to feed on armyworm eggs.

Farmers should take prompt response in treating their crops before armyworm larvae begin infesting the areas. It’s noted that only if applied at an early stage, using 30 gallons per acre of insecticide at high pressure are believed to be a quick remedy. In Zimbabwe alone, “479 [extension] officers and task force teams have been trained in all 10 provinces in the country.” This outbreak doesn’t only include the non-indigenous armyworm, but also the native African armyworm. The non-indigenous armyworm is believed to lay six generations of about 50 eggs per single location.

The United Nations did hold an emergency meeting to address the armyworm infestation across the affected areas in Africa. Indeed these at risk areas have been struggling through the recent droughts, and this armyworm has brought on a series of new issues as they are attacking large multitudes of fields where the farmers are already having issues with the lack of water. Some experts believe that the armyworms have come in through commercial flights from South America or from plants that were imported from other continents. These countries’ rural development is at risk and their need of assistance has increased since the infestation of armyworm.

Read More:

After drought, Zimbabwe contends with fall armyworm invasion

Zimbabwe hosts emergency meeting on armyworm infestation

Armyworm invasion destroys crops in southern Africa

Fall Armyworm
El Nino in Southern Africa

Thanks for sharing !

Comments are disabled.