Armyworms
Cocoa Farms

Tanzanian authorities said on Sunday they have supplied pesticides to southern highlands to control fall armyworms that were destroying crops at an alarming rate in some parts of the country.

“The government is aware of the invasion of the armyworms in southern highland regions and efforts to contain them are in place,” said Beatus Malema, the acting director for crop development in the Ministry of Agriculture.

The southern highlands regions of Rukwa, Mbeya, Njombe and Iringa are the country’s bread basket, producing most of the food for about 50 million people.

Malema said the problem was that the armyworms flew at a very high speed at night and there was no way to stop them entering the country.

“The only way we can control them is to contain them physically by spraying them with pesticides,” added the official.

He said the government has issued an alert to farmers to be aware of the spread of the destructive armyworms.

Malema said the armyworms came into the country through Rukwa region in February last year, and entered the African continent through Ghana in 2016 from the United States and Brazil.

“The ministry has embarked on a campaign to create awareness to farmers to report to authorities whenever they spot such armyworms in their areas,” said the official.

On Thursday, an official said at least 400 hectares of maize crop in Tanzania’s northern district of Arusha were on the brink of destruction after an invasion of the armyworms.

Last year, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization entered into two agreements worth 2 million U.S. dollars with Tanzanian government to boost surveillance of fall armyworms. Enditem

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