Amuru — Cereal farmers in Amuru District have appealed to government to provide them with free insecticides as they battle to contain the outbreak of armyworms.
At least 35,000 households in Amuru District are likely to face severe hunger as a new breed of armyworms invades hundreds of hectares of cereals in various farmlands.
Lamogi Sub-county is the most affected, especially Pagoro parish, where Kaladima prison farm is situated with several acres of maize already destroyed.
Ms Mary Aber, 65, a local farmer from Akwa village in Obbo parish, said she started to notice the problem on her small farm at the beginning of this month.
She asked government to come to her rescue, saying she cannot afford to purchase the pesticide on the open market to save her only source of livelihood.
Another farmer from a nearby village, William Oyet, 61, said his two acres of maize crops are almost completely destroyed by the worms.
The northern region officer-in-charge of prisons, Mr Allan Okello, who visited Kaladima prison farm on Tuesday, warned that the prison's farm is likely to lose 30 per cent of the yields this season.
Mr Godfrey Obina, the Amuru District production officer, warned that if the situation is not handled well, farmers may fail to harvest up to 3,000 metric tonnes of cereal crops.
The coordinator of Operation Wealth Creation in Acholi sub-region, Col Francis Acoka, said the government is committed to fighting the pests.
"At district level, extension workers have already been recruited and at the moment, there are enough technical staff to train people on how to manage the armyworms," he said.
He said the production department in Amuru District has already received the Striker pesticides supplied by the Agriculture ministry to combat the spread of the pests.