Pest Could Destroy Crops Worth Millions in Zimbabwe | Stories | GOAL Global
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Pest Could Destroy Crops Worth Millions in Zimbabwe

Pest Could Destroy Crops Worth Millions in Zimbabwe

Irish humanitarian aid agency GOAL has joined the fight against a devastating insect pest that experts say threatens the food security of millions of people in Africa.

 
The Fall Armyworm has caused significant damage to maize crops in sub-Saharan Africa since its arrival to the region in 2016. The United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization says the outbreak is seriously affecting crop yield in Zimbabwe, a country where more than five million are already in need of food assistance.

GOAL Zimbabwe has now teamed up with CIMMYT, the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center, to educate farmers on best practice to fight the problem and to identify conditions under which Fall Army Worm flourish. A study on the impact of the Fall Armyworm in Eastern Zimbabwe, conducted by CIMMYT, reveals that nearly 12 per cent of crops are lost annually due to the infestation. And the study states that if the problem spreads throughout the entire country tonnes of grain to the value of $32 million could be lost.

Regular weeding, conservation agriculture, use of manure and compost, and ending pumpkin intercropping have been found to help prevent infestation.

Gift Mashango, Assistant Country Director Programs with GOAL Zimbabwe, said:
 
“The Fall Army worm has worsened the food security situation of small farmers who are already coping with an ailing economy and climate change. Apart from the adverse effects posed to the environment by the use of chemicals to combat the pest, farmers also face a cost associated with using the chemicals. We are working with them to come up with innovative, cost-effective, farming systems like Climate Smart Agriculture”.

GOAL’s Zimbabwe has been working since 2017 in Chipinge and Makoni districts to empower farmers through training in agricultural practices and on how best to create lucrative and sustainable income.

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