Cape Town – The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries on Friday confirmed that fall armyworm was identified in samples collected in Limpopo.
The fall armyworm is known to affect several crops including maize, sorghum, soybeans, groundnuts and potatoes. This pest has a wide host range and cannot be contained to a specific area as it is a good flyer.
According to the department, the South African Emergency Plant Pest Response Plan, which deals with new pest detections in the country, is already in place.
The department said the fall armyworm is a new pest to South Africa which means that no pesticide has been registered to be used against it.
"Chemical suppliers are encouraged to apply for emergency registration of agricultural chemicals to be used on maize and other host plants," it said.
The department promised to approve various pest control products from next week.
It should be noted that certain products that have been identified to control the pest are already available in the market, and as such farmers should be able to access them, the DAF said.
Mainly yellow maize varieties and sweet corn have been damaged by the fall armyworm in Limpopo and the North West.
The department said it will continue to assess the spread of the pest and damage it has caused.
"[We will] provide farmers with accurate technical information and control option," the department said.