The Namibian government says crop farmers should brace for another outbreak of fall armyworm (FAW) following widespread rains experienced over the country last week.
The first-ever FAW outbreak in Namibia was recorded in 2016. Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry Percy Misika told New Era newspaper that data collected from pheromone traps in crop farming regions showed FAW was still present in the fields.
“According to data from the pheromone traps, the FAW is still around. As soon as the host plants are available, the moths will start reproducing eggs en masse on the plants,” Misika said.
The government has since advised farmers to step up visual inspections of their crops to aid early detection and control of the pest. Misika said it is critical for farmers to identify the FAW larvae as it is only at that stage where the worm can be eradicated.
Among other interventions, government agricultural extension services staff have trained many smallholder farmers on how to identify and control the pest before it spreads. It is also distributing small quantities of pesticides to farmers and has pledged to buy more since the total requirements can only be determined by the level of infestation.
The 2016/’17 FAW outbreak damaged 19% of Namibia’s maize crop in communal and commercial farming areas. The worm also destroyed other staple grain crops, such as millet and sorghum.