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Agric To Buy Pesticides For Army Worm

by Wangah Wanyama
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By Prossy Nandudu

The Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries is to procure environment friendly pesticides to counter the army worm, that has been reported in the districts of Nakaseke, and Soroti.  The worms, if not controlled have the capacity to cause 100% yield loss.

The pesticide being purchased are Cypermethrine, that belongs to the class of Pyrethroids said to cause no harm to the environment.

This was revealed by the Director Crop Resources in the Ministry of Agriculture, Stephen Bwantwale in a telephone interview on Friday.  According to Bwantwale through their assessment, the pesticides decomposes and disappears from the soil after seven days after application.

The interview was a follow up on his revelation on Wednesday during the launch of a One CGIAR center in Kawanda, that Uganda’s agriculture is being threatened by effects of climate change witnessed through the outbreak of pests like the African Army Worm, diseases like the Maize Lethal Necrosis disease, erratic rains, flooding, drought among others.

In the same meeting, Bwantwale said that the ministry has received information from farmers in Nakaseke district of the outbreak of the African Army worm, that is a threat to cereal crops such as maize, sorghum, millet.

“We are finalizing the procurement of pesticides to support the farmers manage the worms and prevent the spread, it may appear small but that is how invasions start so we are intervening, by Monday, we shall have secured the quantities we need,” said Bwantwale..

When did the Army worm invade Uganda

According to CABI, the army worm then identified as the Fall Army Worm was first detected in Uganda towards the end of 2016. By end of 2017, the pest had spread to all the districts of Uganda.

FAW is capable of feeding on more than 100 plant species with maize and sorghum being the most preferred hosts.

In Uganda, the pest has been confirmed to be feeding on maize, sorghum, sugarcane, rice, millet, wild sorghum, cotton, Napier grass, capsicum and Rhodes grass (Chloris gayana) by April 2018.

How to prevent the spread?

According CABI’s fall army worm management documents, to prevent the spread, plough deeply to expose young pupae to the surface of the soil

Plant early to avoid peak immigration of adults, destroy crop residues by burying or burning because they provide food and shelter to the caterpillar and also regular weeding of crop fields makes it easy to detect.

Under Monitoring

Farmers should set up pheromone traps at the beginning of the growing season to trap the adult moths before it can reproduce.

Farmers should look for young caterpillars on the undersides of leaves

Look out for patches of small “window pane” holes to large ragged and elongated holes in the leaves emerging from the whorl.

And if it is the army worm, it has a dark head with an upside down pale Y-shaped marking on the front.

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