The Ugandan minister of agriculture, animal industries and fisheries, Vincent Bamulangaki Ssempijja, has issued a warning about fall armyworm infestations in that country.
Damage to maize and sugar cane as a result of the pest had been reported, he said in a statement.
The worm was first detected in Nigeria in 2016, and had since spread to Uganda, Togo, Ghana, Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa, among others. This year thus far, the pest had been confirmed in more than 20 Ugandan districts, including Kibaale, Kamwenge, Masindi, Nwoya and Luuk this year thus far.
According to Ssempijja, Uganda was experiencing an outbreak of new pests and diseases because of climate change and climate variabilities, which would negatively impact the nation’s food and nutrition security and wealth-creation efforts.
In the recent past, Uganda had experienced outbreaks of various pests and diseases, including the coffee twig borer, banana bacterial wilt, cassava brown streak disease, tomato leaf miner and maize lethal necrosis.
Farmers, extension officers and the general public were requested to report any fall army worm outbreaks to the respective district agricultural officers, the Ugandan Department of Crop Protection, as well as the National Agricultural Research Organisation.
According to Ssempijja, the Ugandan government had put emergency measures in place to avert severe effects on crop and livestock productivity, which was backed by ongoing research to establish long-term effective control measures against the pest.