African armyworm attack farms in Uganda

Uganda’s Agriculture Ministry has warned that several parts of the country has been invaded by the African armyworm (larva of Spodoptera exempta), a pest that attacks cereals and grasses or pastures.

The Agriculture Minister, Frank Tumwebaze, tweeted on Tuesday that so far, 14 districts had reported outbreaks of the pest, which entomologists said is a result of climate change.

Noting that the pest can be controlled by an insecticide named Cypermethrin 5EC, Tumwebaze said the ministry is working with and supporting the effected districts with insecticides and water pumps.

“If the attack is on pasture, farmers are advised to withdraw from that paddock for seven days. Simply don’t graze on the pasture for seven days,’’ the minister added.

According to an article published on Nature in 2009, the African armyworm is the caterpillar of the night-flying moth Spodoptera exempta, and is a major crop pest usually found in eastern Africa.

The caterpillars may munch through cocoa, bananas and maize, and defecate in water supplies.


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