Fall armyworm: Suppliers urged to apply for emergency registration of chemicals

The agriculture department confirmed the positive identification of the pest which has already been reported by farmers.

Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - The Department of Agriculture has called on chemical suppliers to apply for an emergency registration of chemicals used in the sector to be used on maize and the fall armyworm.

On Friday the department confirmed the positive identification of the pest which has already been reported by farmers to be destroying crops in Limpopo, Free State and the North West.

The fall armyworm, which originates from Brazil, was first detected in Zimbabwe, Malawi and Zambia, where maize crops have forced them to import their produce.

The fall armyworm is a quarantine pest that has the potential to destroy maize crops, sorghum, soy beans, ground nuts and potatoes.

Farmers in South Africa have already been severely impacted by drought and needed the country to import produce last year.

The agriculture department’s Bomikazi Molapo says there is an emergency.

“We’re going to be importing pheromone traps into South Africa to determine the exact extent of the spread and the specific strain of FAW present in South Africa.”

In the interests of human safety, the department is calling on all industry players to refer to their guidelines and ensure that they only use registered products.