21 February 2017
The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development in KwaZulu Natal has positively identified the Spodoptera Frugiperda, known as Fall Army Worm. It has been identified on maize crops in Amajuba , uThukela, uMkhanyakude and Zululand districts. This outbreak in the province follows pest alert by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) which was issued on the 1st of February 2017.
I want to assure the farmers and people of KwaZulu Natal that the Department is in control of the Fall Army Worm in the province.
Fall Army Worm is a new pest in South Africa and it is a quarantine pest which affects a wide range of crops such as maize, sorghum, soya beans, ground nuts and potatoes. This pest is fast traveller and cannot be contained in one specific area.
The Department has put up emergency Plant Pest Response Plan which is already in motion. As part of mitigating this scourge, the Department will do the following:
1. Conduct pest scouting, collecting and reporting on the spread and damage.
2. Conduct awareness and education to producers.
3. Solicit resources for control such as procurement of Agrochemicals and traps.
4. Promote integrated pest management.
5. The Department is working closely with DAFF and farmers to determine other hosts affected. A creation of database to coordinate other provinces is being considered.
As the Army Worm being a new pest in South Africa, an interim control programme aimed at assisting farmers with a proper guide for pesticides usage as an emergency measure is being done. Such a control programme would be effectively communicated to all various role players and would be made available to DAFF website and our own website.
Presently, the Department has pesticides products which are approved for usage in controlling the Army worm in the maize and other crops vulnerable to it.
I want to encourage all farmers that they use registered pesticides products in fighting this scourge. We direct farmers to use products approved in terms of Fertilizer, farm feeds, Agricultural Remedies and Stock Remedies Act, of 1947 (Act no. 36).
I want to call on all farmers, both commercial and subsistence farmers, to report and suspected detection of this pest to our Departmental Local and District Offices for immediate quarantine and intervention.
Issued by the MEC for Agriculture and Rural Development in KwaZulu Natal.
MEC Themba Mthembu.
Director: Media Liaison Officer