The Midlands Province has been hit by an outbreak of fall armyworm, compounding the woes of farmers whose crops were now beginning to wilt due to prolonged dry spell. The fall armyworm has reportedly affected the entire province, including irrigated crops, where farmers were pinning hopes of getting a decent harvest.

In an interview on Tuesday, Midlands provincial crop and livestock officer Mrs Madelinah Magwenzi said the pests were now out of control.

“The province has been hit by an outbreak of fall armyworm and the situation is very bad because the affected crop is already wilting due to the dry spell in the province,” she said.

Mrs Magwenzi said the department was conducting a crop assessment exercise to establish the extent of the damage, as well as the crop situation.

“We have dispatched our officers to assess the situation and the report will be out by the end of this month,” she said.

Mrs Magwenzi urged farmers to also use traditional methods to try and contain the fall armyworm.

“The challenge is that we don’t have a proper pesticides to deal with the fall armyworm, but we urge our farmers to use traditional methods,” she said.

Mrs Magwenzi said the department was still conducting research to find a proper pesticide to deal with the fall armyworm.

“The research department is working tirelessly to come up with a suitable and a strong chemical that farmers can use to kill the pest,” she said.

Last year, the province was also hit by a serious outbreak of fall armyworm, which wiped 20 percent of the maize crop.