Low yields feared in Rumphi as stalk borers hit farms

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There is fear that there will be low crop harvest in Rumphi this year as a total of 182 hectares of maize fields have been hit by stalk borers.

Maize

Maize fields have been attacked by stalk borers in Rumphi (File photo)

The development follows more rains which have hit the district and left several families stranded as they have nowhere to stay.

According to the district’s Agriculture Development Officer Yaz Nyirenda, Ntchenatchena, Mhuju, Mwazisi and Bolero are areas that have been heavily affected by the outbreak of the pest.

He said the pest has been on rampage since last week and that his office is working hard to contain the outbreak by spraying chemicals in the affected areas.

He however noted that the pest has been resistant to the conventionally used pesticides like Cypermetherin and Karate.

“We have sprayed Cypermetherin and Karate in the affected areas but there has been little effect because the pest has been resistant to these chemicals,” he said.

Following the pest’s resistance to the conventionally used chemicals, Desis is now being used as an alternative chemical to contain the pest.

According to the agriculture officer, where Desis has been used there are promising results.

“Instead we are now using Desis which is responding quite well, but the only challenge we have is that this chemical is not readily available,” said Nyirenda.

He added that the outbreak of the pest would result in reduced maize yield at the end of the growing season.

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