By Joshua Kato
The Desert Locust Control Organisation for Eastern Africa (DLCO-EA) has donated 40 armyworm traps to support the Crop Protection Department of the Ministry of Agriculture.
Thed notorious African armyworm pest is destructive to cereal crops like maize, millet, wheat, sorghum and pastures across most parts of the Country.
According to Evarist Magara, Country Base Manager, DLCO-EA, the African armyworm is a migratory moth, with its larva stage (caterpillar) being the most destructive by feeding on various crops resulting into economic damage that can result into famine and loss of incomes. There was an outbreak of African Armyworm in Uganda in April 2022 that spread to over 40 Districts by June 2022, with serious damages recorded on various cereal crops.
Some of the most affected Districts were Tororo, Iganga, Kumi, Luwero, Nakaseke, Kiryandongo, Kasese, Lira, Pader and Masindi, and the moth surveillance traps will be stationed in such areas. The AAW outbreak cycle was again repeated in 2023 during the months of January to April, but on a smaller scale. The country had last experienced similar outbreaks in 2013.
“The recent African armyworm outbreak patterns in the Country show that this is likely to be an annual event that has been catching both the Ministry and farmers off guard, thus resulting into significant crop and pasture damages and losses,” Magara says.
The African armyworm is one of the mandates of the DLCO-EA and the organisation has come in to support Member Countries in the efficient surveillance for timely reporting and subsequent control of the pest before much plant damage is done.
Therefore, according to Ephrance Tumuboine, Assistant Commissioner Epidemiology, MAAIF, the DLCO-EA donation of the African armyworm moth pheromone traps to MAAIF is very timely.
“We are grateful to this donation because we had less. We going to commission these around Karamoja region so that we increase surveillance and act on time,” she said.