Farmers who participated the just ended agricultural shows held in various parts of the country have pleaded with government to find a lasting solution to the threat posed by fall army worm.
Agricultural shows have provided farmers with an opportunity to market their produce and increase their market share but the mood has been somewhat dampened by the threat posed by the fall army worm which is affecting yields.
Farmers who attended the just ended Marondera and Gweru agricultural shows feel government and its development partners should come up with a lasting solution.
“We have noticed this army worm problem for a couple of seasons and government and the private sector must come up with lasting solutions to ensure that it is under control,” they said.
A representative of a local agriculture company which is helping to improve global food security by enabling millions of farmers to make better use of available resources, Mr Moses Kudanga said there is need for a policy framework that compels seed companies to treat their seeds before putting them on the market as the first step in controlling fall army worm.
“We encourage our government to do what Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique governments are doing to enforce all seed houses to make sure they treat their seed fortenza duol so as reduce the pest infestation level and pest damage thereby providing food security. Most are suffering from this damage of fall army worm due to failure in protection or controlling the pest, therefore, the government should come in full-force,” he said.
Fall army worm is a highly destructive pest which can contribute to yield losses of between 21-53 percent of annual maize production.
It was first reported in South Africa in 2017 and spread to other neighbouring countries with available data showing that Zimbabwe, Namibia, Zambia and Malawi have suffered huge crop losses of between 30-60 percent due to fall army worm.