Ethiopia treats 617,000 hectares of maize amid armyworm outbreak – Xinhua

ADDIS ABABA, Oct. 12 (Xinhua) — Ethiopia has treated some 617,056 hectares of maize that would otherwise be ravaged by the fall armyworm, Ethiopia’s agricultural ministry said Thursday.

Tewabe Chane, communication expert at the Ethiopian Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, told Xinhua that the fall armyworm, first spotted in Ethiopia in late February, has spread to eight maize harvesting regions of the East African country.

According to Chane, Ethiopia has harvested more than 3 million hectares of maize since March, of which the fall armyworm was spotted in 646,731 hectares.

The ministry said it was able to treat some 617,056 hectares of maize production together with its partners.

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Chane, however, asserted that the impact of the pest on the country’s maize production is yet to be calculated in the coming months.

Ethiopian President Mulatu Teshome said earlier this week that the fall armyworm had an impact in Ethiopia’s agricultural production during the recently concluded Ethiopian 2016-2017 fiscal year.

Ethiopia has applied some 239,821 liters of anti-armyworm chemicals on 253,572 hectares of land. The remaining 363,483 hectares was treated through traditional mechanisms, it was indicated.

Crops such as maize, soya beans, groundnuts, and potatoes are among over 100 crops that are said to be highly vulnerable to the pest.

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Fall armyworm, the larva of night-flying moth, is indigenous to the Americas. It was first detected in Africa in 2016 in Nigeria, South Sudan, Sao Tome and Principe, Benin, and Togo.

According to the Ethiopian agricultural ministry, the nature of the insect and its unknown character in the East African country and the region has made the fight against the pest difficult.

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