The Department of Agriculture has confirmed the detection of the Fall armyworm in the Western Cape.
Speaking to Ray White on The Xolani Gwala Show, the Department of Agriculture's Jan-Hendrik Venter says the worm is an exotic pest and was first noticed in 2016 on the west coast of Africa.
Its natural range is the Americas, but it is also a migratory pest, so it likes to fly in Autumn which is where the name 'Fall' armyworm originates.— Jan-Hendrik Venter, The Department of Agriculture
So they migrate and have successfully infested the whole of Africa.— Jan-Hendrik Venter, The Department of Agriculture
This pest likes maize and it eats a lot of corn in South Africa and the rest of Africa.— Jan-Hendrik Venter, The Department of Agriculture
He adds that because this is a migratory pest it is hard to stop it as once pest migration occurs, it will continue to migrate from that point onwards.
So you can't stop it, but what you can do is manage it. We recommend that farmers in the Western Cape must continue to do regular scouting and look for signs of egg packs that have been laid on maize plants.— Jan-Hendrik Venter, The Department of Agriculture
He adds that they have found the worm doesn't affect maize production a great deal because South Africans farm mainly on the Highveld. However, small scale farmers in Limpopo will be affected and they need to scout and check for egg packs.
Listen below to the full interview:
This article first appeared on 702 : Maize-eating Fall armyworm detected in Western Cape