Scientists identify fall army worm combat chemicals.

As the 2017-2018 rain season is about to commence, scientists in the country have discovered chemicals of controlling the devastating fall army worm which affected maize production in the 2016-2017 farming season.

Senior Deputy Director of Agriculture Services Thomson Chilanga said Bvumbwe Research Station is finalizing tests on the chemicals that are proving very effective and will be releasing the results very soon.

“We are going to make the final analysis of the activities and instruct the local chemical distributors to make sure the chemicals are available across the country,” said Chilanga who is also manager for the research station.

He said scientists have discovered 2 to 3 chemicals that were proving very effective on fall army worm and they are in the process of naming them as per scientific research requirement.

Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Joseph Mwanamvekha expressed satisfaction with the work that the scientists were doing in the field of disease and pests’ management as well as improved varieties and breed.

“Research scientists are doing great work in edifying Malawi’s agro based economy. But there is still need for more effort to address challenges that the research stations are facing so that they upscale efficiency,” Mwanamvekha said.

He added that in the face of climate change, which has affected the country’s agriculture productivity in the recent years, the works of researchers need to be prioritized in coming up with resistant varieties and breeds that can withstand disease and harsh environmental conditions.

The minister, therefore, revealed plans to meet the three major research stations national wide to discuss existing challenges and find possible solutions for maximum productivity. The three stations are Bvumbwe, Chitedze and Lunyangwa.

The fall army worm was first discovered during the 2016-2017 agriculture season and damaged over 140, 000 hectares of maize national wide.