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nowthendigital.com-Uganda Launches Measures to Curb African Armyworm (1)
The armyworm reportedly broke out last week in several districts.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries in Uganda has acquired over 3,001 litres of the recommended pesticides and appropriate gear required to help in the fight against the latest invasion of the African armyworm.

The armyworm reportedly broke out last week in several districts. The invasion has reportedly hit over 30 districts. In a statement, the State Minister for Agriculture, Fred Bwino Kyakulaga said efforts are being made to help curb its further spread.

Kyakulaga said the ministry has already contacted various distributors of the relevant pesticides in a bid to ensure that enough stocks exist in the country especially nearer the affected communities to control the pest.

“The cost of a litre of this pesticide is Shs 20,000 and one litre of pesticide can effectively contain one acre of affected crop/ pasture land. Ministry Crop Inspectors have been dispatched to various affected districts to verify reports, establish the pest status as well as provide guidance to the district staff and farmers on the control measures,” Kyakulaga said.

The minister, in addition, revealed that government will continue conducting surveillance and monitoring of the pest, with a view to minimising its buildup and potential full-blown epidemic.

He said so far ,the armyworm has been confirmed in 38 districts including among others Mukono, Wakiso, Katakwi, Bukedea, Bugweri, Serere, Busia, Bugiri, Mityana, Kiryandongo, Namutumba, Kumi, Luwero, Kasese, Masindi, Soroti, Nakapiripirit, Bulambuli, and Hoima.

He further stated that the African armyworm is suspected to have migrated from neighbouring countries renowned for higher temperatures into Uganda as a result of the climate change that the country is currently experiencing.

The armyworm feeds on cereals including; maize, millet, sorghum and pastures. It has also been observed to also feed on sugarcane and wheat. In maize and other cereals, yield loss as a result of caterpillar feeding goes up to 100%.

What is the Fall armyworm?

Fall armyworm is an insect pest native to tropical and subtropical regions of the Americas. It is new to Africa and was first detected in central and west Africa in early 2016. 

The armyworm was first reported in Uganda in June 2016 in Kayunga, Kasese and Bukedea districts and by end of 2017, the pest had spread to all the districts. 

FAW is a migratory, highly polyphagous pest capable of feeding on more than 80 plant species with cereals (maize and sorghum) being the most preferred hosts. In Uganda, the pest has been observed feeding on maize, sorghum, sugarcane, rice, Napier grass and Rhodes grass.