Agriculture dept to blame for slow False Armyworm response - DA

2017-02-07 19:07
False armyworm. (CABI)

False armyworm. (CABI)

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Cape Town – “Gross negligence” by the agriculture department led to the late registration of False Armyworm vaccines in February, the DA said on Tuesday.

The International Association for the Plant Protection Sciences (IAPPS) confirmed the outbreak of False Armyworm in Nigeria in October and warned that the pest spread rapidly, DA shadow agriculture minister Annette Steyn said in a statement.

False Armyworm feeds on commercial crops including maize, millet, sorghum, rice, wheat, and sugar cane. The pest has a wide host range and cannot be contained to a specific area as it is a good flyer.

“Given the gross negligence displayed by the department, I will also request that the portfolio committee launch an inquiry as to the slow response by our government,” Steyn said.

On Friday, the department confirmed an outbreak of False Armyworm in South Africa. It said it would speed up the registration of vaccines to contain the outbreak.

Steyn said should the government not respond quickly enough, thousands of hectares of maize crop would be lost and South Africa’s food security jeopardised.

The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations told Fin24 on Friday that False Armyworm is known to cause crop losses of up to 73%.

It warned that the pest was attacking South African crops just as producers were recovering from two consecutive years of El Nino-induced drought.

Read more on:    agriculture

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