Gov't Considers Aerial Spray Against Fall Armyworm

2597 Views Luweero, Uganda

In short
Jane Namugambe, a resident of Kabanyi village in Luweero Sub County is among the farmers whose maize is under attack by the fall army worm. She blames government for taking long to respond to the problem.

The Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Fisheries Ministry is considering aerial spray to combat the fall army worm. The fall army worms are caterpillars that march across the landscape in large groups feasting on young plants, leaving devastation in the fields.  

The latest information suggests the worm, originally from South America, has spread to 62 districts in Uganda leaving farmers crying foul. The State Minister for Agriculture Christopher Kibazanga says the fall armyworm has ravaged gardens and may plunge the country into food insecurity.

According to the Minister, the fall armyworms have become resistant to some of the pesticides that were recommended by Ministry making the fight more complicated. The recommended pesticides are Rocket, Striker, Engeo and Dudu Fenos.

He says the ministry will receive a consignment of 10,000 liters of Pesticides next week for free distribution to farmers. Kibazanga says the Ministry is considering using ariel spray should the worms persist. 

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The government's efforts come at a time when agrochemical shops in Luweero run out of pesticides leaving farmers crying foul. At least 300,000 litres of pesticides have been bought by farmers since the outbreak of the fall armyworm, according to Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Fisheries Minister, Vincent Ssempijja.


Haruna Kasirye the Luweero District Agriculture Officer says the pesticides runout of shops at a critical stage when farmers were moving to the next phase of spraying.   He has welcomed the move by government to donate free pesticides to farmers, saying it will be a big relief.   Jane Namugambe, a resident of Kabanyi village in Luweero Sub County is among the farmers whose maize is under attack by the fall army worm. 

She blames government for taking long to respond to the problem. Namagambe says the interventions by government may contribute very little, since the worms have destroyed several gardens.   Another farmer, Josephat Mwanje says the 10,000 liters of pesticides may not be sufficient for farmers in the 62 districts that are affected. 

The fall armyworm can cause crop losses of up to 73 percent. Once it is at an advanced larval development stage it can become difficult to control with pesticides. The UN food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) says that following the spread, Zambia, another African country in the Sub Saharan region, lost more than 90,000 hectares of maize to the pests. 

Malawi lost 17,000 hectares, Zimbabwe reported a potential 130,000 hectares affected, while in Namibia, approximately 50,000 hectares of maize and millet were damaged.

 

About the author

Brian Luwaga
Since Brian Luwaga joined Uganda Radio Network in 2011, he is still amazed how, "URN is a place that gives journalists a chance to enhance their skills . It gives a journalist an opportunity to adopt and master various aspects of journalism that include radio broadcast, social media, photography and television production."

A practicing journalist since 2009, first with Star FM, Luwaga has always been keen to write about the concerns of the "common person." Based for much of his career in Luweero, Luwaga takes it as a compliment if politicians complain that his reporting is too harsh.

In his journalism, Luwaga likes to merge the past with the present. He believes you cannot understand what is happening now, if you do not have a grounding in the past. Brian Luwaga is the Luweero URN bureau chief. Nakasongola, Nakaseke, Mityana, Mubende and Wakiso districts fall under his docket.

Luwaga is interested in humanitarian work and is a keen Rotarian.