The traps are to help farmers get prepared before the first planting season sets in.
PIC: Maurice Opio, the senior agricultural inspector at the agriculture ministry displaying an armyworm trap. (Credit: Wilfred Sanya)
AGRICULTURE | ARMYWORM
KAMPALA - The Government's plan of commercialising agriculture could be hampered by the increasing incident of pests and diseases.
Under the plan, the Government identified 12 key priority food items for both food security and income-generation through export.
Maize, which is both a food security crop and an economic crop, is being threatened by various pests and diseases.
The most recent attack on maize was the fall armyworm that destroyed maize gardens in the first season of last year.
The worm, which was first reported in 2016 in Uganda, intensified in the first planting season of last year, destroying maize crops in various parts of the country.
Information from the agriculture ministry indicates that Uganda produces close to four million metric tonnes of maize grain annually, making it the third highest crop produced.
Maize contributes to the livelihoods of over 3.6 million households (UBOS2014). Based on the estimated yield loss of 15%-75% elsewhere, the presence of the armyworm in Uganda could translate to an annual loss of at least 450,000 metric tonnes of maize that is equivalent to $192m (about sh600b).
"If such pests are not controlled, these could hinder the Government's plans of commercialisation. That is why we need to work with farmers and teach them what to do so as to control the damage in future," said Byantwale.
He made remarks while receiving the fall armyworm traps from the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) on Tuesday at Imperial Royal Hotel, Kampala. The traps are to help Uganda fight the fall armyworm and get prepared before the first planting season sets in.
The traps, which were procured through FAO's Technical Co-operation Project will be used in the fight against the worms in at least 10 priority districts of Uganda.
Charles Owach, the assistant FAO representative, said the project that runs for 23 months will complement the ongoing national efforts to manage the armyworm in Uganda.
Other pests that are threatening Uganda's strategic crops include the quelea birds, which are eating up rice, sorghum and millet in eastern districts of Uganda. There is also the tuta absoluta, which attacks tomatoes.