Thyolo — Maizefarmers in Thyolo should brace for a tough farming season as it has shown that the period will be characterized by a fall army worms' attack.
Bonface Kautale, Assistant Agriculture Development Officer (DADO) for Thyolo, explained to Mana that most farmers who planted their maize crop following early rains in November were suffering from the worm attack in all the six Extension Planning Areas (EPAs) in the district.
Kautale however, said his office had already started distributing pesticides and intensified sensitizations on how to control the pest across the district.
He added that out of the 37,743 hectors of maize planted, 8,850 hectares have been attacked, with severe destruction being experienced in Dwale EPA around Bvumbwe trading centre.
"Even though the government is distributing pesticides, we are still urging the farmers to source the pesticides on their own. We are also encouraging them to use biological methods of containing the pests like use of tobacco concoction and ashes," he explained.
The Agriculture Extension Development Coordinator (AEDC), for Thyolo centre EPA, Enock Chiwale, said 38 percent of his section was under attack from the worm.
"We expect this number to go up. This is a big problem in maize production in the district and it will require joint effort to contain the crisis," he said.
Chiwale said in his EPA the worm has been identified in all the sections of Mtambanyama, Nyanga, Njale, and Maonga where farmers are busy fighting the pests.