Armyworms destroy half of Malawi’s maize crop

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Malawi continues to be affected by armyworms as the pest has destroyed half of Malawi’s planted irrigation maize this year.

Speaking at a UN Food and Agricultural Organisation conference in South Africa, senior official in the ministry of agriculture Albert Changaya said 35,870 hectares, which is 50.3 percent, of the planted irrigation maize had been destroyed by October.

Dr Albert Changaya

Changaya: 50.3 percent, of the planted irrigation maize had been destroyed by October.

“Last month the report that we got was about 50 percent,” Changaya who is Controller of Agriculture Extension and Technical Services said on Thursday.

In the 2016/2017 growing season armyworms also damaged crops in many areas across the country.

However, Malawi produced a bumper 2017 crop of around 3.2 million tonnes and a few weeks ago government even lifted a two-year maize export ban.

Infestations of the pest have erupted across Africa including in Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa. The pest has also been detected in the island nations of the Seychelles and Madagascar.

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