ABOVE: Farmers affected by the fall army worn in Moses Kotane local municipality attended the launch of the fall army worn control programmed in Magong near Rustenburg on Saturday. The programme aims to create awareness and educate farmers about the fall army worm and control options. Photo: ANA/Iol News
Rustenburg – Two incidents of fall army worm (FAW) infestation have been confirmed in the North West, the rural, environment, and agricultural development department said.
The FAW infestation was confirmed at farms around Mogwase in the Moses Kotane local municipality and at Brits in the Madibeng local municipality.
In a bid to fight the worm invasion the department launched the FAW control programmed in Magong near Rustenburg on Saturday to create awareness and educate farmers about the worm and control options.
Mpho Sekgala from the national department of agriculture, forestry, and fisheries said the problem with the FAW was that it had a wide host range which affected crops such as maize, sorghum, soybeans, groundnuts, and potatoes.
Sekgala said the department would assist farmers with technical information and control options and continue with assessment of spread and damage awareness.
“Farmers should work hand in hand with the department for technical advice on chemicals before using any,” he said.
One of the farmers, Christopher Sefara, said he started planting in December and three weeks later he saw a lot of birds and butterflies around the farm.
“According to my knowledge an increased number of birds on the farm may be an indication of army worm. We had not yet experienced great damage because in my opinion the department is making an effort to assist us and we are very grateful for their support.”
Confirmation of FAW presence brings automatic activation of the contingency plan developed by the department. In line with this plan funds have been set aside for buying pesticides to assist affected farmers.
North West premier Supra Mahumapelo said it had been agreed with the national department to use the agricultural support grant to help farmers affected by the worm.
“We have already reached an agreement with the national department of agriculture and forestry to utilise our comprehensive agricultural support grant to assist farmers for effective control of army worm in Bojanala and Ngaka Modiri Molema districts,” he said during his State of the Province address on Friday.