Government has unveiled plans to introduce biological control as a complementary measure to fight fall army worms that have hit the country.
Biological control is the control of pests by means of predation, that is the introduction of the natural enemy of the pest into areas attacked by the pest so that it may feed or attack the pest and in the process, reducing the population of the pest.
In an interview on Thursday in Lilongwe, controller of agriculture and extension and technical services Dr Albert Changaya said government in the next two years intends to adopt biological control as a major control measure of the pest.
“We hope that in the long run, we will identify certain insects or parasitoids within the country which can parasitise on fall army worms,” he said.
Changaya said much as biological control is an effective measure, it cannot necessarily eliminate the problem.
“What biological control aims at is reducing the population of those pests to very minimal levels which economically, we would say would not make a difference in the yield. So the idea is to reduce the population to below threshold levels,” he said.
Statistics indicate that fall army worms are getting worse in the country since they were first recorded in December 2016.
In 2017, a total of 138 344 hectares of maize crop was attacked while this growing season alone, 206 619 hectares have already been infested. n