The Botswana government has confirmed reports of the first fall armyworm infestation of maize fields in the country.
According to Nkaigwa Joel, district agriculture co-ordinator from the ministry of agricultural development and food security, said the pest had been found in most of the country’s north eastern region.
Joel said areas like Moroka, Nlphwane and Zwenshambe had been affected. The relevant authorities were advising farmers, he said.
Botswana is not a major maize-producing region, and meets most of its local demand mainly from South African imports.
According to the Botswana Agricultural Marketing Board, the country produces about 10 000 tons of white maize a year.
The fall armyworm has now spread through most of the maize-producing countries in southern Africa, including Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Malawi, Mozambique and Namibia.
Potatoes SA yesterday issued a report describing fall armyworm damage to potatoes in the Loskop Valley near Groblersdal in Limpopo.
“The planting was made in soil previously planted to a popcorn maize variety near conventional (non GMO) maize, infested by fall armyworm,” said the Potatoes SA statement.