Vol.4, Issue 3
Writes Tjonane Matla
“You guys are lucky, army worm is easier to kill, on this side we have one type of a worm that is so difficult to kill, we have sprayed in some farms three times but there is no difference.” Says one farmer in Bethlehem.
On the other hand, the Director of Crops Mrs. Mothokho responded as follows during our interview:
“It may not be possible to say how much area is affected because reports are coming almost every day of new infestations in different locations. The first reports came from Maseru district, around Nazareth, Thaba-Bosiu, Mokema Rothe, the actual list of villages is long. Berea also came with reports indicating Sefikeng, Thuathe, Mapoteng etc. Leribe reported Hlotse, Leshoele, Mathokoane, Likhakeng, Mahobong, Nqechane, Mamoqoqo. The list is also long. Mafeteng reported Ha Ramatseliso, while Botha-Bothe reported Tsime.
Upon the reports we got from Maseru, we started mobilizing equipment and insecticides to the affected villages. We then realized the magnitude of infestation was beyond what we could manage with our carryon knapsack sprayers and therefore organized intervention to do the operation using aerial spraying. The Ministry therefore called a South Africa Company to assist our operation. We started with one plane this Monday and have brought in one more yesterday because we have to work fast to cover a wide area before the larvae can change its controllable stage.
But we have to take note that not all places affected will have the services of the plane as the terrain might not be suitable. In such cases, we will continue with the tractor equipment (boom sprayers) and the knapsack sprayers.
This is an alarming situation if not carefully handled, all efforts are done to boost food security will be null and void.”
Expects say that army worm could be expected any moment, though they further say had it paid a visit before December, it could have been a normal situation of which farmers could have managed. We want to assume that either private sector through farmers associations or Government must invest in small boom spraying aircrafts, so as to even enable insurance companies to have appetite in insuring agriculture.