NSANJE, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) says government should not be pushed to declare state of disaster following the outbreak of fall armyworms saying proper efforts are being made to contain the situation once and for all.
Speaking with the Malawi News Agency (MANA) in Nsanje, Food Manager for FAO Innocent Kaponya said government and its stakeholders are working around the clock to come up with both short and long term interventions to put the situation under control.
He was speaking on the sidelines of a daylong training for Nsanje district agriculture extension workers on controlling the pest which was organized by Action Aid International Malawi under Christian Aid with funding from Department for International Development (DFID).
Fall army works have ravaged crop fields in many parts of the country including Nsanje leaving some subsistence farmers helpless.
Kaponya who was the lead facilitator said government has come up with action points to suppress the population of fall army worms which poses a threat to the country’s food security.
Said Kaponya, Government has developed a fall armyworm response plan which includes short and long term interventions to ensure that the pest is controlled. The training is part of the short term intervention.
He said so far more technical staff and NGOs implementing food security interventions in the country have already been trained on the response plan to equip them with requisite skills to contain the pest.
He hoped following the training, farmers would have the right information to enable them notice fall army worms signs when a plant shoots up from the ground.
This is why we have trained officers from Nsanje so that in turn they sensitize the farming community on the same.
The Manager also disclosed that government would soon come up with the actual pesticides to be used to control further reproduction of the pest.
The long term plan is to have biological control mechanism in place. We are just waiting for funding to embark on the research, he explained adding that he was happy to note that farmers across the country have taken heed of the messages about the behavior of the pest.
For example, he observed that farmers around Shire Irrigation Scheme, supported by Action Aid International Malawi through Enhancing Community Resilience Programme (ECRP) have put in place measures to defuse the pests attack.
He added that their visit to the scheme showed that farmers are using knowledge they received from extension workers to offset the pest.
The training was being done under the ECRP’s Safeguarding Harvest and Supporting Production in Post Disaster Recovery intervention with funding from DFID.
Source: Malawi News Agency � MANA