Smaller Outbreaks Of The African Armyworm Reported In Muzarabani*
Outbreaks of the native African armyworm (Spodoptera exempta) have been reported in Muzarabani in the northern part of the country but quick intervention by the Plant Protection Research Institute has helped to reduce damage to maize and sorghum crops.
The government’s chief entomologist Shingirai Nyamutukwa told the Herald on Wednesday that they had detected smaller outbreaks of the African armyworm in the Dambakurima and Machaya wards in Muzarabani district.
“The African armyworm was detected on January 24 and we quickly moved in and provided chemicals to control the pests. The situation is under control and not much hectarage was affected,” he said.
“Less than 10 hectares of both maize and sorghum crops were affected including three hectares of pastures.”
Nyamutukwa said the smaller outbreaks were not of the new invasive species called the Fall armyworm (
Spodoptera frugiperda) which was now endemic across the world where it was causing considerable damage to maize and other crops.
However, he said Zimbabwe, including other southern African mainland countries, remained at high risk of an armyworm outbreak that could threaten the 2021 – 2022 harvest if no control mechanism were put in place.
In 2020 and 2021, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia and Zambia experienced outbreaks of locusts that were controlled.
Heavy rains in the 2020 -2021 period and in the current cropping season have created conducive conditions for swarms and moths to breed in these countries forcing plant protection agencies to take steps to control any outbreaks. *Herald*