Maize farmers in South Africa’s Eastern Cape Province have been advised to be on the lookout for fall armyworm.
The Eastern Cape was the last province to be infested by fall armyworm in 2017, and it is estimated that 355 hectares were affected.
“So far the prevailing environmental conditions in the province, accompanied by further late planting, may be conducive to the development of a fall armnyworm outbreak as we saw last year,” said Provincial Member of the Executive Council for Rural Development and Agrarian Reform Mlibo Qoboshiyane.
Most of the affected maize was planted late, and for this reason the late planting is not recommended.
Qoboshiyane said that training of extension officers and scientific technicians on scouting techniques, identification of fall armyworm and spraying methodologies will be utilised from time to time throughout the growing season.
“Awareness campaigns on most radio stations in the province and other media outlets are an ongoing exercise,” said Qoboshiyane.
For further assistance regarding the pest, farmers are advised to contact Fall Armyworm Provincial Incident Commander Dr. Thembakazi Silwana on 063 694 0918.