Communal farmers in Gwanda district says high costs of chemicals to control the fall armyworm coupled with lack of knowledge has contributed to the failure to effectively manage the pest.

This came out during a fall armyworm management demonstration field day at Manonokwe village in ward 4 Gwanda North.

Communal farmers in Manonokwe village in Gwanda North have been hard hit by the fall armyworm recurrence and lack of adequate knowledge on how to control the pest compounded with exorbitant costs for chemicals has contributed to their failure to effectively deal with the pest.

“The costs of the pesticides are beyond the reach of many forcing us to explore other methods, which do not work,” said farmers.

In the hope of addressing these challenges the Ministry of Agriculture, Lands and Rural Resettlement visited the area to train the community on possible management of the fall armyworm.

The acting head of the plant Protection Research Institute Mr Shingirayi Nyamutukwa said the trick lies in the ability of farmers to destroy the pest in its early stages of growth.

“In Gwanda the crop is heavy infested, in a field you find hundred percent infestation level but that does not mean farmers will not get anything. With early control ,they can get yields and that is why we are here to impart knowledge to the community,“ he said.

The department also provided chemicals and 20 knap sprayers to the community of ward 4.

The provincial crop and livestock specialist Mr Mkhujulelwa Ndlovu called on other stakeholders to work with government in the management of the fall armyworm.

“We appeal to stakeholders to help government to deal effectively with this problem as the ministry is sometimes resource constrained. Support from our partners will go a long way in ensuring that we are food secure as a country,” said Mr Ndlovu.

The fall armyworm has affected 30 percent of the maize crop in the province.