News and knowhow for farmers

Manual on controlling deadly fall army worms

Fall Armyworm
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By George Munene

The Fall Army­worm (FAW) is amongst the most dev­ast­at­ing pests to Africa’s food sys­tems. In re­sponse to this, ag­ri­cul­ture non­profit Land O’Lakes 37 and Villa Crop Pro­tec­tion have pre­pared freely ac­cess­ible train­ing mod­ules out­lining the ap­pro­pri­ate re­sponses small­holder farm­ers should take to com­bat this pest. 

Re­search amongst Zi­m­b­ab­wean farm-hold­ers showed that those who failed to im­ple­ment these con­trol strategies had a 50% lower per cap­ita house­hold in­come than their coun­ter­parts that im­ple­men­ted them. 

Ac­cord­ing to data from the Centre for Ag­ri­cul­ture and Bios­cience In­ter­na­tional (CABI), in the ab­sence of any con­trol meth­ods, the Fall Army­worm (FAW), causes maize yield losses of 21–53 per cent in just of 12 of Africa’s maize pro­du­cing coun­tries an­nu­ally. This amounts to 8.3 to 20.6 mil­lion tonnes; Sh267-Sh666 bil­lion in po­ten­tial losses.

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Small­holder maize grow­ing house­holds blighted by the pests are at a 12 per cent higher risk of ex­per­i­en­cing hun­ger.

The learn­ing mod­ules are meant to equip ex­ten­sion ser­vice pro­viders who then dis­sem­in­ate the ac­quired know­ledge and skill on crop pro­tec­tion to small­holder farm­ers. The in­form­a­tion is however open-source; freely ac­cess­ible to any­one.

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Amongst the key areas the seven mod­ule course cov­ers in­clude: Fall Army­worm iden­ti­fic­a­tion; Chem­ical and non-chem­ical con­trols of FAW, as well as re­spons­ible chem­ical use when com­batting FAW.

The ma­ter­i­als for each mod­ule is freely avail­able for use and down­load upon re­gis­tra­tion here: https://​agritraining.​co.​za/​login

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