By, Muchemi Wachira
NAIROBI, Kenya –Ugandan government has asked farmers to stick to recommended guidelines of using pesticides to fight the fall armyworm that have invaded agriculture farms in the country.
Mr Christopher Kibanzanga, the State minister for Agriculture, said on Wednesday that government is doing everything possible to contain the crop-destroying pests that threaten the livelihoods of more than 80 per cent of Ugandans who depend on agriculture.
.“I believe we can successfully fight this worm,” Mr Kibanzanga told The Monitor, a local daily newspaper, citing himself as example of a farmer who defeated the pest in his home district of Kasese.
“But if we do not [fight the worm], it will be a disaster. Countries, which import our tomatoes, maize, cabbages, beans … will hold back, fearing our export will carry these pests into their countries,” he added.
To control the pest, Mr Okaasai Opolot, the director for crop resources at the Ministry of Agriculture, says the only available means of fighting the marauding worms now is by spraying the affected gardens with two tested pesticides types; Striker 247 SC and Rockett 44EC.
Mr Opolot says 20-50mls of the said pesticides should be mixed in 15-20 litres of water before spraying that should be done between 7-8am, and 5-7pm when the caterpillar is active and should be done twice a week.
Although government has already distributed more than 2,500 litres of Striker to farmers in worst-hit-districts across the country, Mr Opolot encouraged farmers to procure their own pesticides and not wait on the government.
“Government cannot afford to give free pesticides to all farmers. What we procured was for demonstration purposes and to let farmers know which pesticides work. We expect them to buy their own pesticides,” Opolot said.
Since last year, hundreds of mainly maize gardens across the country have been ravaged by the fall armyworm, a native pest to tropical and sub-tropical regions of Americas but are believed to have spread to Uganda through increased trade across her borders.
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