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Synod in fall armyworm mitigation

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The Livingstonia Synod of the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian has, through its development department, embarked on a research project which encourages farmers to adopt conservation agriculture techniques in an effort to control the fall armyworm.

The fall armyworm is a devastating pest that was first reported in Africa in January 2016 and has caused about nearly 90 percent crop loss, thereby posing a threat to food security.

Project Coordinator, Richard Sulu, announced details of the project when he inspected maize fields under the Fall Armyworm Research Project on Tuesday.

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“The project is working with research and agriculture experts at the University of Livingstonia—as well as the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development—to inform policy for national impact. A post-harvest survey carried out in June 2017 showed that all conservation agriculture fields with 100 percent mulch cover were not infested by the fall armyworm, unlike non-conservation agriculture plots which mostly did not yield anything,” Sulu said.

Rumphi District Agriculture Development Officer, Lumbani Msiska, said the worms have damaged over 35 percent of maize this season which, he said, is an improvement from last year when 75 percent of the fields were affected.

The project is targeting 300 vulnerable farmers in Rumphi District through community participatory research and field testing.

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