State launches programme to make armyworm fall
Confirmation of the pest outbreak brings greater certainty to farmers, while experts tone down threat to SA
The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has confirmed that the fall armyworm is indeed in SA. But experts say the pest, which has already devastated crops in several neighbouring countries, is unlikely to wreak as much havoc locally as it has elsewhere. Agricultural Business Chamber economist Wandile Sihlobo said the confirmation of the pest outbreak would bring greater certainty to farmers and other affected people but reports of fall armyworm had been restricted to isolated areas. "It is good news that the fall armyworm has been identified. Now we can formulate a response and farmers can use the appropriate chemicals to get rid of the pest. We still expect SA to produce 11.9-million tonnes of maize crop, a good recovery from the 7.5-million tonnes last year. If we continue to have a good rainfall pattern through February, we could still have a great crop," said Sihlobo. Entomologist Dr Johnnie van den Berg said the effects of the pest could be likened to hail damage ...
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