A farmer holds an army worm found feeding on her maize crop at a Farm in Zimbabwe
The Zimbabwe government has declared the fall armyworm as a threat to the national food security. As such, it has vowed to leave no stone unturned in the search for lasting solutions to the fall armyworm problem. The menace has reportedly affected many farmers throughout the country in recent seasons.
Speaking at the official opening of the Manicaland Agricultural Show last week, Minister of State for Manicaland Provincial Affairs Senator Monica Mutsvangwa said that there in need, now more than ever, to eliminate the fall armyworm menace.
This, she says, is in addition to addressing the issue of inputs distribution faced by farmers. She further urged farmers contracted under Command Agriculture to honor their contracts for continuity of the program.
Mr. Mutsvangwa described the agricultural show as an important vehicle for the advancement of agricultural extension services. This, according to her is because exhibiting gave farmers an opportunity to share innovations and new technologies under one roof.
On the other hand, the Minister was quick to note that some tobacco farmers were failing to adhere to tobacco production regulations, a situation which she insisted posed a serious threat to tobacco production in Manicaland province.
Furthermore, she reiterated how incidences of pest and disease infestation are going up exponentially. Unfortunately, farmers are not taking heed of the May 15 deadline for tobacco stalk destruction. As such, the production per hectare is going down so much that average yield per hectare is ranging from 800 to 1 000 kilograms.
The Minister Mutsvangwa also called out “middlemen” for continuous ripping off farmers at the tobacco auction floors. She said the size of irrigable land should be increased to ensure food security.
Minister Mutsvangwa encouraged the private sector to invest in irrigation infrastructure. The Manicaland Agricultural Show Society president Mr Patient Mbarara also encouraged farmers and other stakeholders to work together for mutual benefit.