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Farmers fault Peter Mutharika on armyworm invasion

Farmers Union of Malawi (Fum) Thursday blamed President Peter Mutharika for his lackadaisical approach in tackling the Fall Armyworm invasion that has affected crop fields in 20 districts across the country
Fum President, Alfred Kapichira Banda, took a swipe at Mutharika, accusing him of declaring a state of national disaster late.
“Let’s call a spade a spade. This declaration has come too late. The problem has been there since early this year and farmers have been complaining and for the President to come in now and declare a state of disaster after 20 districts have been affected is a little too late,” he said.
He said the government has not been helpful particularly to the smallholder farmers who need the government’s assistance.
“The new system that was put in place to have farmers go to agriculture extension workers for assistance has let down most of the farmers because most of the workers are reluctant to help the farmers. In the end, these farmers give up on farming sometimes while some end up opting for agro-dealers, who are expensive,” he added.
Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture Chairperson, Joseph Chidanti Malunga, cautioned the government, urging it to come up with strong measures that would help curb the effects of the Fall Armyworm.
“To be honest, this problem will be there for some time. Even in Brazil, where it came from, they did not deal with it all at once; it took time. So, the government needs to come up with measures that will last long,” he said.
Meanwhile, the government has released a list of recommended insecticides for the Fall Armyworm.
In a statement issued yesterday by the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, about six insecticides have been recommended with their right dilution rate.
“The insecticides must be applied upon detecting presence of fall armyworms in the crop and application must be done in the funnels of the plants. Regular monitoring of the crop is paramount,” reads part of the statement.

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