Agriculture Minister says Tanzania has controlled army worms by 70%.

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Army worms destroying food Crops in Africa. Photo by Marx Itamalo

By Nangayi Guyson – nangayi.guyson@alleastafrica.com

Kampala,  Uganda –The Ministry of Agriculture in Tanzania said on Sunday the country has controlled the army-worms that had invaded 12 regions by 70 percent.

The Deputy Minister for Agriculture Livestock and Fisheries, William Ole Nasha, said the ministry had deployed agricultural experts in 12 regions most hit by the destructive army-worms and at least seventy percent is under control.

The minister who did not disclose the methods the country used to control the armyworms added that many of these areas are still under surveillance.

According to the minister, nearly 30 percent of the country had been affected after the worms destroyed hundreds of acres of maize crops in the country’s food basket, with most farmers complaining of incurring huge costs to contain them.

A combination of native African armyworms and fall armyworms from the Americas are ravaging staple crops in more than 20 African countries.

Maize plants destroyed by Army worms

Experts have warned that Africa will face major food shortages after this attack and will also struggle to contain the threat posed by these armyworms since there is no known effective control measures.

In the neighboring country of Kenya fall armyworms have already destroyed about 11,000 hectares of maize.

In Uganda also, these pests have been witnessed in about 20 districts mostly in central and western areas where about 40 percent of the maize have also been destroyed according to authorities.

Armyworms are the caterpillar stage of moths belonging mainly to the genus Spodoptera. They are called armyworms because when they have ravaged a crop they march along the ground like a vast army of worms in search of more food.

The outbreaks of armyworms began in 2016 in Zambia and Nigeria and has spread rapidly spread all over Africa.

It is unclear how they reached Africa from the Americas but it’s likely it arrived on imported plants. It’s also possible that it migrated across the Atlantic on favourable winds over multiple generations.

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