Outbreak of fall army worms worries Balaka chiefs

Balaka, Chiefs in Balaka have expressed concern over the outbreak of fall army worms, saying if not checked they would lower crop production in the district.

A snap survey by Malawi News Agency (MANA) in some parts of the district confirmed that Traditional Authority (T/A) Kalembo is heavily affected by the outbreak.

Group Village Head (GVH) Khefa of Traditional Authority Kalembo said Monday that currently, farmers are worried that if left unchecked, it would lead to food insecurity.

Many gardens have been attacked by fall army worms which are multiplying so rapidly. Farmers are finding it difficult to control the situation because they have not yet received pesticides from agriculture officials, she said.

She added that the most affected farmers were those who did not plant crops with the first rains.

Commenting on the matter, District Agriculture Development Officer (DADO) for Balaka, Denis Zingeni, said his office was aware of the situation and working tirelessly to control further multiplication of the worms.

Yes, we are aware of the problem. We have made our assessment where we have found that almost 1036.1 hectares belonging to 681 farming families have been affected, Zingeni said.

He said his office has so far distributed the pesticide, Sulpan, to farmers who reported the outbreak to his office.

Zingeni has since advised farmers to closely monitor their fields regularly as well as practice crop diversification to arrest the problem.

Many parts of Malawi experienced outbreak of fall army worms in the 2016-2017 agriculture season.

Source: Malawi News Agency MANA