13 February 2017

South Africa: Agriculture Minister, UN Food Organisation to Visit Farms Hit By False Armyworm

Photo: Derrick Sinjela
Maize crops in Zambia.

The Minister of Agriculture Senzeni Zokwana will visit farms in Limpopo with the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) on Monday in an effort to bring the False Armyworm plague under control.

The pest, which causes massive crop loss, has been nibbling through South African crops as producers try to recover from two consecutive years of a drought brought on by the El-Nino weather system.

The worm likes maize, sorghum, soybeans, groundnuts and potatoes.

The department has asked chemical suppliers to urgently register products that can be used to control it.

The FAO is working with South Africa in bringing the situation under control, although the DA has accused of Zokwana of not acting fast enough.

According to the Famine Early Warning System (FewsNet), the southern African maize deficit is already estimated to be just over 5 million MT due to drought.

With Zokwana will be FAO country representative Dr Lewis Hove and the province's MEC for agriculture Mapula Mokaba-Phukwana, the department said.


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