The North West Department of Rural, Environment and Agriculture has developed a plan of action to contain any possible Fall Army Worm (FAW) outbreak.
This follows reports on the suspicions of FAW within the province, mainly in areas starting around Bojanala Platinum District.
“Agricultural advisors have been trained to swiftly perform rigorous scouting for confirmation of FAW within the suspected areas in the province. In that light, effective and efficient control measures will be rolled out as and when cases are reported.
“In doing this the department hopes to avert the spread of FAW and possible economic losses which may be incurred by crop farmers to this effect,” the department said.
Following the recent rainy weather, the North West has seen a rise in the multitude of insects. This happens mainly when the temperatures increase after the clouds disperse.
The department said it continues to alert farming communities to take heed that not all moths and caterpillars are FAW.
“Proper identification has to be conducted to make sure that army worm is being confirmed for appropriate control. In case of any suspicion, farmers and community members in particular should visit the nearest department service point to report such cases for immediate action.
“The department has also made available chemicals and sprayers at all local area offices to assist small scale farmers to control identified and reported FAW infestations,” the department said.
FAW infestations have been detected throughout the country with provinces such as Limpopo, Mpumalanga, North-West, as well as the Eastern Cape been affected.
It has been identified as potentially harmful with it having made its first appearance and notable damage in Southern Africa.
It poses a threat to producers due to the pace at which it is spreading.
Although the FAW mainly affects maize plants, it may occasionally attack cotton, wheat, sorghum, soybeans, potatoes and groundnuts.