Government is strengthening surveillance, awareness, management and control systems in the fight against fall armyworm with a raft of measures being undertaken to reduce the impact of the pest on agriculture productivity.

A plant health awareness fall armyworm management demonstration field day was held at Mutema Irrigation Scheme in Chipinge.

In his address, the Minister for Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement (Rtd) Air Chief Marshall Perrence Shiri who was represented by Manicaland Minister of State Senator Monica Mutsvangwa said surveillance and operationalisation of early warning systems for crop pests is critical in curbing the spread of the deadly fall armyworm.

He said his ministry is facilitating temporal registration of chemicals to be used to control fall armyworm with a number of pesticides being developed and still under trials while also urging farmers to increase surveillance in order to detect pests early and use recommended pesticides.

 Deputy director Research Services Dr Godfrey Chikwenhere said a number of pesticides are being developed as part of control measures while acting head Plant Protection Research Institute Shingirayi Nyamutukwa said early detection and use of recommended pesticides is key in controlling the pest that procreates rapidly.

“It produces between 1 500 to 2 000 eggs each taking only three to five days to hatch,” he said.

Meanwhile, farmers in Chipinge ward 3 who went through lectures on how to control the spread of the deadly pest were given 20 knapsack sprays to control the fall armyworm.