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Worry As Destructive African Armyworm Strikes Again

African armyworms eating up a crop

Nakaseke District authorities have petitioned the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) over the outbreak of African armyworms.

The African armyworms are caterpillars that march across the landscape in large groups feasting on young plants and leaving colossal devastation.

Some of the caterpillars are black, green, and yellow and can destroy an acre of a crop field within a day. The caterpillars feed on all types of grasses, food crops, coffee, and pineapples among others.

Now, in a March 15, 2023 letter seen by the Uganda Radio Network (URN) to the Permanent Secretary and the Commissioner for Crop protection in the MAAIF, the Nakaseke Deputy Chief AdministrativeOfficer, Ramathan Kasozi Kato, says that the most affected areas are Wakyato, Ngoma, Kinyogoga and Kinoni sub-counties.

According to Kato, also the town councils of Butalangu and Ngoma are under attack. He says 2,024.02 square miles of crop fields have been destroyed.

“The presence of those pests has caused losses of unprecedented levels to both crops and livestock farmers. Most affected are the cereal crops and animal pastures,” his letter reads in part.

He asks the ministry for chemicals and tools to counter these worms. Hajat Sarah Nakalungi, the Nakaseke District Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) told Uganda Radio Network (URN) that following lamentation from farmers, they have decided to take this action.

The African armyworms last attacked Luwero last year 2022.  This was after they were first detected on a farm belonging to Bugema University on March 26, 2022. Weeks later, the worms spread to Ziroobwe, Kalagala, Makulubita, Butuntumula Busiika sub-counties, and Kamira town council.

-URN

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