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Armyworms overrun Ugandan farms

The Ugandan government has confirmed an outbreak of the so-called Fall Armyworms which are notorious for destroying maize crops in most farms across the country.Agriculture minister Vicent Bamulangaki Sempijja told journalists in Kampala on Friday that the government has been briefed about a severe outbreak of ‘caterpillars’ on maize plants which have been confirmed as Fall Army worms.

He blamed the outbreak on climate variability being experienced in Uganda.

The fall armyworm can be identified by its Y mark on the front of the head and large spots towards the end of the abdomen.

It is feared the worms will have a negative impact on Uganda’s food, nutrition security and wealth creation efforts.

The Ugandan official said the country could lose up 15 percent or 450,000 metric tonnes of maize if nothing is done to halt its spread or contain it.

The outbreak of the Fall Armyworm according him may have implications for key exports and foreign exchange.

The minister urged farmers, extension officers and the general public to promptly report the outbreak of the armyworm to district agriculture officers.

Known to originate from the Americas, the worm was identified for the first time in Africa last year.

It is now a major concern in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda among other countries on the continent.

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