As armyworms continue to destroy crops in Malawi, some farmers are using local methods to fight the pests.
Farmers in Zomba are using things such as bonya soup and neem leaves to deal with the armyworms.
This was revealed during a meeting held at Traditional Authority Mwambo headquarters, which accommodated development structures from Zomba Likangala and Chisi constituencies.
According to Group village head Mbalu of the area, unavailability of chemicals has led many farmers to be using local methods of dealing with the pesticides.
Chief Mbalu said currently people are using pounded neem leaves and pepper, while others are using bonya soup, and crops are responding well where these have been applied.
In Zomba, 2398 hectares of maize have been severely affected by fall armyworms especially in Mpokwa EPA, in the area of Traditional Authority Mwambo.
According to Mpokwa Agricultural Extension and Development Coordinator (AEDC) Arnold Thomas Chikaonda, the most affected areas are the ones which are close to wetlands near Lake Chirwa.
Chikaonda said out of the affected hectarage, only 554 hectares have been applied with chemicals, due to inadequacy of the chemicals, as the area only received 40 litres.
He said inadequate supply of the chemicals has left many farms unattended and that this may likely affect the quantity of harvests this year.
In his remarks, Member of Parliament for Zomba Likangala constituency Honourable Peter Valani said there is optimism that the situation will improve saying the DADO’s Office had promised additional supply of 30 litres of the chemical.
He then urged those who will receive the pesticides to use them efficiently and as may be advised by the agricultural experts.
On 15th December 2017, President Peter Mutharika declared state of disaster in areas affected by the fall armyworms.