|Armyworm outbreak reported in Midlands Province|
|Friday, 25 January 2013 18:16|
FRESH outbreaks of the dreaded armyworm which destroys crops and pastures have been reported in the Midlands province.
The Provincial Agritex Officer, Mr Peter Chamisa said the problem was being compounded by shortage of spraying chemicals which he said was not available at most retail outlets. He said the situation remained critical, forcing some farmers to buy any chemical to contain the armyworm outbreak, including dangerous chemicals that threaten life.
“We are facing a short supply of these spraying chemicals at a time when fresh outbreaks are being reported especially in Mberengwa and Nkululeko, just outside Gweru. Agritex has been giving farmers chemicals in the affected areas where the armyworm has been identified.
“However, given the rate of new outbreaks, more chemicals are urgently needed. Recently we received about 200kg of spraying chemicals from our suppliers. We gave this to farmers in Kwekwe and Somabula,” he said.
Mr Chamisa said the situation was not improving despite efforts to spray in all affected areas. He said his office continued to receive more chemicals from their head office but that was not helping much as demand continued to outstrip supply and there was need for Government intervention in the sourcing and supplying of chemicals before the situation goes out of hand.
"Recently we had a meeting as a province where we tried to engage the Government to help with the situation. We are still to get a feedback on this appeal. We hope that the Government will intervene soon before things get worse," he said.
The Midlands Provincial Agritex Officer urged farmers in affected areas to be proactive and move fast to save their crops. He said they should try to buy the recommended chemicals to spray the armyworm and desist from just waiting for the Government to intervene.
“We encourage farmers to first alert Agritex officers so that they can be advised on the correct chemicals to use. We recommend Carbaryl 85 WP to spray pastures and crops. Any other chemicals can result in disaster. There are farmers using DDT and cotton sprays. These are poisonous and they get in the plant system, affecting life,” he said.