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Embu County tests new method to stop fall army worm spread

By Joseph Muchiri | Published Mon, December 4th 2017 at 00:00, Updated December 3rd 2017 at 23:59 GMT +3
A fall army worm on maize crop. (Photo: KIPSANG JOSEPH| STANDARD)

The county administration is experimenting a new way of fighting fall army worms blamed for the destruction of up to 20 per cent of maize in Runyenjes Sub-county.

The county, in partnership with Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), has trained and deployed 50 workers to search and kill the worms in their larvae stage to contain their spread.

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The agricultural officer in charge of Runyenjes area, Njeru Mwita, said the pilot project will target 300 farms.

The county has established a centre at Ugweri area where experts will be evaluating the feasibility of the technique.

The technique will be piloted for six weeks to test if it can complement other methods of fighting the pests, such as use of pesticides.

If the trial is successful and approved, it will be replicated across the county and farmers will be trained on its application.

According to Mr Mwita, small-scale farmers who cannot afford expensive pesticides for their maize crop will particularly find the method useful.

County Director of Agriculture John Ndwiga said out of 20,700 hectares of maize in the county, about 5,500 of them have been attacked by the worms.

Agriculture officials are holding farmers’ forums to educate and create awareness on better farming practices to eradicate the pest.

Embu Agriculture Executive member Ann Nyaga said her office would recommend the new technique only after the trials have been approved.

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“It is a trial that has not been approved for mass adoption as a control measure," she said.


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