CHIREDZI – The Minister of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development; Dr Joseph Made has warned sugarcane farmers on the potential danger posed by the fall army worm to their crops, saying though recent efforts to control the destructive pest had largely borne fruit, there was no room for complacency.
Fall army wormy is native to tropical regions of the western hemisphere from the United States to Argentina but has found its way to Africa due to changing climatic conditions and heavy winds.
The pest, which gave maize and cotton farmers a hard time this year, is also said to have been imported through maize which was distributed to communities affected by the El Nino-induced drought last year.
“I want to indicate that the fall army worm is still there. As we approach the winter season, it’s on hibernation. It is in the maize, maize stalks, maize cobs and in sorghum. It is even in the grass, underneath the soil,” said Dr Made.
He also highlighted that the worm was a new phenomenon to most local farmers meaning there was still little knowledge on it.
“Many people don’t know about it, even the extension workers. So there is need for physical inspection of the grass and if green materials come out, it will quickly emerge,” he said.
Dr Made indicated that the fall army worm needs soft spots and sugarcane farmers should consult experts to find out whether it was hibernating in their crops or not.local