AT least 15 hectares of rapoko and sorghum have been destroyed by armyworms across the country, a senior official has said. In an interview, Plant Protection Research Institute (PPRI) head Dr Godfrey Chikwenhere said the worm predominantly affected crops in Nyamaropa, Chimanimani, Birchenough Bridge and Masvingo.
"The problem was attributed to the dry spell that the country was experiencing over the past two weeks creating conditions that promoted the reproduction of the armyworms.
"About 15 hectares of rapoko and sorghum have already been lost with an estimated 200 to 300 armyworms covering a single square metre.
"The armyworm is moving rapidly but we are doing all we can to contain it and ensure that it does not cause more damage," he said.
Dr Chikwenhere said after receiving reports from the citrus orchards in Limpopo, officials from his department have contained the armyworm using a new pesticide which is commonly used in Zambia.
"We have dispatched a team to assess the situation on the ground and get more details on the pest," said Dr Chikwenhere.
PPRI distributed 878 kilogrammes of Carbaryl, 120 litres of Paraquat and also tested a new chemical Deltaguard on the affected areas.
He said his department was assisting with chemicals in areas affected as efforts to control the outbreak intensify.
Dr Chikwenhere urged farmers to immediately report such occurrences to the responsible authorities.
Armyworm is a migratory pest that affects crops during the rainy season.
The worms move in large numbers and can destroy large hectares of crops within a short period of time.
They usually come from such countries as Zambia, Uganda and Tanzania.