Efforts to control armyworm paying off in Nyabihu

It is about 11:00 a.m. and dozens of maize farmers are busy spraying pesticides on their crops in Mukungwa Marshland in Shyira Sector in Nyabihu District, Western Province.

Some farmers are thoroughly inspecting their plantations to ensure no maize is infested by the Fall Armyworm (FAW) a maize eating and destructive pest.

Agricultural Advisors are also busy advising their fellow farmers on environmental friendly ways to successfully control the FAW.

Laurent Habimana, one of the farmers is optimistic of a good harvest despite a fresh outbreak of FAW in their area thanks to multi-sectorial approaches by the government and its partners.

“We were not aware of the best ways to control the outbreak but now that the government and partners weighed in we believe in the boosted,” he said.

“We now have pesticides selling points subsidized by the government. For only Rwf 1,600, one gets a bottle of the pesticide which can be sprayed on about a  hectare of maize plantation,” added Habimana.

He went on to say that he expected to harvest a tonne of maize as opposed to the previous outbreak when he managed to harvest only three bags of maize.

Speaking to The New Times, Aloys Maguru, the Agriculture Officer in Shyira Sector said they partnered with Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB) to train 31 agricultural advisors who provide other farmers with practical knowledge on best ways to control FAW stressing that the advisors have been proved effective.

“Farmers now know how to control the outbreak; at this note we are envisaging a boosted produce compared to what we secured previously with the same outbreak,” he said revealing that they expect to harvest at least four tonnes of maize per hectare.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through its five-year agriculture development project dubbed ‘Feed the Future Rwanda Hinga Weze’ is supporting efforts to control FAW in Nyabihu District by providing farmers with technical assistance and agricultural advanced tools among other assistance.

According to officials from the project, they will never rest till the FAW is successfully controlled, not only in Nyabihu, but also across the country.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com