Public Urged to Fight Spread of Fall Armyworm

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Addis Ababa June 14//2017 Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources has called on stakeholders to enhance their participation in protecting major maize growing areas from fall armyworm.

Since its occurrence in the last week of February 2017, the armyworm has spread to 6 regional states, namely Benishangul-Gumuz, Amhara, Tigray, Gambella, Oromia and Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples’ State.

At a press conference the Ministry held today, Plant Health Regulatory Director- General Woldehawariat Asefa said the invasion of the fall armyworm has been increasing fast in the over past 3 months.

It has so far attacked maize on 146,320 hectares of land in 35 zones, he added.

The Director-General, however, stated that the lands stated are not fully ravaged by the pest as reported by some media networks.

The armyworm is different from other insects as it is fast and ravages over 100 different crops, he explained, further urging all stakeholders, including the army, students and teachers as well as the public to play their roles in controlling the armyworm.

The armyworm feeds on many crops, including soya beans, groundnuts, and potatoes; though the most prevalent strain eats maize, it was learned.

Plant Protection Director Zebdeos Salato said the pest can be controlled easily by working in groups.

Fall Armyworm, the larva of night-flying moth, is a pest indigenous to the Americas. It was first detected in Africa in 2016 in Nigeria, Sao Tome and Principe, Benin, and recently Togo.

After it was detected in Africa, it was intercepted on a few hectares of irrigated maize fields in southern Ethiopia in the last week of February 2017.