Crops Protection Officer for Blantyre Agricultural Development Office (DADO), Sam Ngwira has said the office is ready to fight and reduce the fall army worm cases in the next growing season.
In an interview with Malawi News Agency (MANA) on Tuesday in Blantyre, he said during the winter cropping, the office of the DADO provided farmers with pesticides which they applied in their farms and hoped the Ministry would this year supply them with more pesticides.
Ngwira said part from the pesticides, the DADO’s office was planning to use local methods to combat fall army worms which proved to be effective during the various trials and demonstrations.
“The methods are cost-effective and offer alternative options because farmers use locally available resources like usipa soup and nim to physically kill the worms. But above all, we encouraging farmers to plant their crops with the first rains,” he pointed out.
Ngwira added that fall army worm traps have since been installed in the district.
“The district has provided farmers with fall army worm traps to reduce their population. The district has installed devices that would assist farmers forecasting possibility of fall army worm outbreak,” the Officer said.
For almost three years now, the country has been battling with an outbreak of fall army worms.
The problem has led to low crop production and food insecurity in some families.
The first outbreak of the worms was reported in Blantyre and Machinga Agricultural Development Divisions during the 2016/17 growing season.
In the 2018/19 agricultural season, over 50 per cent of the 190, 000 farming families in Blantyre were affected by fall army worm.