Govt buys pesticides to fight armyworm

Government has procured 23,000 litres of pesticides to fight the menacing African armyworm that has ravaged crops in several districts in the country.  

This was revealed by the Prime Minister, Robinah Nabbanja on Thursday, April 14 2022 while presenting a statement on the Floor of Parliament on the invasion of the African armyworm.

According to Nabbanja, the invasion of the African armyworm has spread to over 40 districts and is causing massive destruction of crops and threatening the livelihoods of the people in those affected districts.

“Government through the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries has procured 23,000 litres of the recommended insecticide known as Cypermethrin 5EC, and is distributing it to the affected districts to demonstrate its use for effective control of the pest,” Nabbanja told the sitting chaired by Speaker Anita Among.

The affected districts include Mukono, Wakiso, Katakwi, Bukedea, Bugweri, Mityana, Kiryandongo, Luweero, Nakapiripirit, Bulambuli, Oyam, Kiruhura, and Nwoya among others. The most affected crops include; maize, millet, sorghum, wheat, sugar cane as well as pastures.

Nabbanja has advised the affected farmers to spray the caterpillars with Cypermethrin 5EC using a dosage of mixing 100-120mililitres of the pesticide in 20 litres of water for effective use.

“The farmers have been also advised to take precautionary measures to protect themselves against side effects of the pesticide by putting on protective gear such as gloves, facemasks, boots and overalls,” Nabbanja said.

She added that the ministry has so far acquired 100 motorised pumps and 200 sets of protective gear for use in the affected districts.

The Opposition Chief Whip, Hon. John Baptist Nambeshe, said that whereas he appreciates government’s support the equipment and protective gear may not be sufficient to serve the affected districts.

“We appreciate the 100 motorised pumps and 200 sets of protective gear, but honestly what can they do against 40 districts? Literally, it is two pumps per district which is not adequate,” Nambeshe said.

The State Minister for Animal Industry, Hon. Bright Rwamirama said that the equipment is only an addition to the already existing equipment that his ministry has been supplying to the districts.  

Rwamirama advised farmers to keep away animals from grazing from the sprayed farms for at least three days to avoid exposure to the chemical.

“The good news is that the pesticide works instantly and the chemical is biodegradable. If you leave it for three days then it will not have any effect on human beings and animals,” he said.   

Apparently, the invasion of the African armyworm, scientifically known as Spodoptera exempta, is currently spreading quickly because of windy and dry weather as well as the delay of onset of rains which favours their breeding cycle.

“We are praying that rains come soon because they disrupt the breeding cycle of the moth. It is only the caterpillar stage that is destructive, so when the rains come they will be washed away. We are on top of the situation and in case the rains do not come then we shall have to come back to Parliament seeking for support to widen the intervention,” Rwamirama said.

Nabbanja has also urged distributors of Cypermethrin 5EC insecticide to stock enough supplies, adding that government has also dispatched inspectors to aid in surveillance and provide guidance on the control. She added that 1,000 military personnel earlier trained to fight the locust invasion will be deployed to support ground spraying.


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