KZN in control of Fall Army Worm

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Pretoria – KwaZulu-Natal Agriculture and Rural Development MEC Themba Mthembu has assured farmers and the people of that province that the department is in control of the Fall Army Worm.

This comes after the department positively identified the Fall Army Worm on maize crops in Amajuba, uThukela, uMkhanyakude and Zululand Districts.

The outbreak in the province follows a pest alert issued by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries on 1 February 2017.

Fall Army Worm is a new quarantine pest in South Africa, which affects a wide range of crops including maize, sorghum, soya beans, ground nuts and potatoes. The pest is a fast traveller and cannot be contained in one specific area.

During a media briefing in Durban on Tuesday, MEC Mthembu said the department has put up an emergency Plant Pest Response Plan, which is already in motion.

As part of mitigating the scourge, the department will conduct pest scouting, collecting and reporting on the spread and damage.

“The department will conduct awareness and education to producers, solicit resources for control such as procurement of agrochemicals and traps, and promote integrated pest management.

“The department is working closely with Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and farmers to determine other hosts affected. A creation of database to coordinate other provinces is being considered,” MEC Mthembu said.

The MEC also called on commercial and subsistence farmers to report any suspected detection of Fall Army Worm to the department’s local and district offices for immediate quarantine and intervention.

He said that since the Fall Army Worm is a new pest in South Africa, an interim control programme aimed at assisting farmers with a proper guide for pesticides usage as an emergency measure is being done.

“Such a control programme would be effectively communicated to all various role players and would be made available on the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries website and our own website.

“Presently, the department has pesticides products which are approved for usage in controlling the Army Worm in the maize and other crops vulnerable to it.

“I want to encourage all farmers that they use registered pesticides products in fighting this scourge. We direct farmers to use products approved in terms of fertilizer, farm feeds, Agricultural Remedies and Stock Remedies Act, of 1947 (Act no. 36).” – SAnews.gov.za

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