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November 5th, 2017 / The Herald, Zimbabwe

Government has secured knapsack sprayers that will be distributed to smallholder farmers in an attempt to fight the risk which might be caused by the fall armyworm this season. This development comes after chiefs told President Mugabe when he attended their annual meeting in Bulawayo last week that their subjects almost lost their crop to the pest last season. The traditional leaders also said they wanted the District Development Fund to be revamped so that it could continue to offer tillage services to communal farmers. Others also requested inputs under the Presidential Well-Wishers Free Inputs Scheme for their Zunde RaMambo plots.

Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister Dr Joseph Made said on Tuesday that his ministry was working round the clock to have the chiefs’ requests addressed before the farming season started. He said the first victory in the fight against fall armyworm was the help received from the Food and Agriculture Organisation, which would see many smallholder farmers receiving knapsack sprays to fight the pest.

“The chiefs raised the question of the fall armyworm as to what we were doing as Government in order to fight this dangerous pest. We will continue to have the National Spraying Team on standby, but we must also capacitate the farmers. Poorly capacitated farmers risk losing much of their crop to fall armyworm, especially in the event that the national spraying team delays in responding,” said Dr Made. Read more