Government presents measures to curb armyworm invasion

The Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry, and Fisheries has purchased and distributed over 3,001 liters of the prescribed insecticides and protective gear needed to combat the raging African armyworm infestation that has wreaked havoc on crops across the country.

According to the Ministry of State for Agriculture, ‘Fred Bwino Kyakulaga’ numerous distributors of the relevant pesticides have been contacted and notified by the Ministry in order to ensure that enough stocks exist in the country, especially nearer the affected communities, so that they can control the pest.

The maximum cost of a litre of this pesticide is Shs 20,000, and it is estimated that one litre of pesticide can effectively contain one acre of crop pasture land. Ministry Crop Inspectors have been dispatched to numerous affected districts to verify reports, launch the pest status, and deliver guidance to the district staff and farmers on the control measures,” he said.

According to Kyakulaga, the government will continue to monitor the pest to minimize its buildup and potential full-blown epidemic.

Till now, government confirmed that the outbreak is in 38 districts including; Mukono, Wakiso, Katakwi, Bukedea, Bugweri, Serere, Busia, Bugiri, Mityana, Kiryandongo, Namutumba, Kumi, Luwero, Kasese, Masindi, Soroti, Nakapiripirit, Bulambuli, Hoima among others.

The African armyworm is supposed to have migrated from neighbouring countries famous for higher temperatures into Uganda due to the climate change that the government is currently experiencing.

Maize, millet, sorghum, and pastures are among the grains that the armyworm eats. Sugarcane and wheat have also been detected as food sources. Caterpillar feeding reduces output by up to 100 percent in maize and other cereal crops.