‘Escalate pest scouting to thrice a week’

FOLLOWING the prolonged dry spell that has pushed the current delayed planting to coincide with the breeding period for both the African and Fall armyworm, farmers have been advised to do pest scouting at least three times a week.

In a post titled; “Pest management in the El Nino phenomenon period”, Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development urged farmers to always check their crops for the pests.

“Delayed planting exacerbates the overlap of this breeding season with the vulnerable stages of the crop heightening susceptibility to attacks. 

“Farmers are urged to intensify pest and disease management efforts including increased scouting activities potentially conducted three times a week instead of the usual two,’’ read the post.

The Ministry added that the push-pull strategy could be employed to control pests particularly in the context of African and Fall armyworms. This strategy involves planting a crop like cow peas that pushes pests away from the main crop (repellent effect) and pulls them towards trap crops in this case this could be brachiaria, continued the post.

“This approach is often employed to manage insect pests although its principles can also be adapted for weed control.”

The Ministry’s advice comes as farmers across the country are currently seized with land preparations and planting after the early season dry spell scuttled all efforts to get the season’s activities started.

Crops for most dry land farmers are either germinating or yet to given the fact that they had not received rains in excess of 20mm to enable them to start planting.


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