Peter Mutharika declares state of disaster


President Peter Mutharika has declared a state of disaster after 20 districts have been affected by fall armyworm infestation.
In a press statement dated December 16, signed by State House Press Officer, Mgeme Kalilani, the decision follows information that, since the onset of the 2017/ 18 cropping season, fall armyworms had affected districts.
The worms have affected thousands of hectares and at least 133,083 farming families. The worms are mostly attacking maize, sorghum and millet.
The statement further says that the government, through the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development and development partners, are working to contain the spread and impact of the worm.
So far, 56, 082 litres of pesticides have been procured and distributed to Agriculture Extension Planning Areas (EPAs) where smallholder farmers are accessing them for spraying infested fields.
“However, the current stocks of pesticides are not adequate to contain the situation as the cropping season progresses; hence, there is need for more resources to procure additional pesticides. The plan is to procure 400,000 litres of pesticides that will be distributed to farmers through their EPAs”, reads part of the statement.
The government further says it has procured and installed pheromone traps in several districts to monitor the prevalence of the pest.
In the statement, the government appeals for support from other players to assist in containing the disaster.
“Since most of the areas are likely to be affected if the pest is not properly managed, additional resources are therefore required to implement interventions aimed at addressing further spread and management of the pest,” reads the statement.
Government is further appealing to farmers in the country to be observant and report anything strange in their fields to extension workers in their areas.
“The farmers need to share updates about this problem with extension workers where they can get help. The farmers will also help a lot in relaying information that can help in the interventions,” Kalilani said.

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