Army Worms

Name ID 699

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The East African
Extract Author: Premy Kibanga
Extract Date: 1999 April 26 - May 5

Army Worms May Invade Kenya from Tanzania in May

The EastAfrican

Army Worms which have destroyed crops in parts of northern Tanzania will invade Kenya in three weeks, according to experts monitoring their movement.

The worms, which attack cereals, have thwarted Tanzania's efforts to contain them and will hit Kenya hard, Mr Wilfred Mushobozi, a national Army Worms forecaster based in Arusha, told The EastAfrica.

Prediction are that the African Army Worms, which have invaded thousands of hectares of crops in northern Tanzania, including maize, will enter Kenya by the second week of May as they reach the secondary stage of infestation.

Mr Mushobozi said the areas which will be most affected as the worms enter the secondary breeding stage include the Serengeti plains, Ngorongoro conservation area, Rombo and Hai districts in Kilimanjaro region and Tarime district in Mara region, all of which border Kenya.

According to Mr Mushobozi, the worms usually appear between November and late January but because of weather changes they came in January and February. They were first spotted in central Tanzania and severely affected Dodoma, Morogoro, Tanga, Kilimanjaro, Arusha, Singida and Mwanza regions. Crop yields are expected to fall because of the destruction wrought by the worms, coupled with poor rains.

Mr Mushobozi said the government was warned about the impending invasion at the beginning of February and some regions such as Dodoma and Morogoro took the warning seriously, alerting their farmers and averting damage to paddy farms.

The worms can be easily controlled with pesticides at the egg and larvae stage, before they develop into pupae and become moths.

Researchers at the Tropical Pesticides Research Institute in Arusha said the first moths were trapped in October last year.

Extract ID: 1419

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Africa News Online
Extract Author: Nicodemus Odhiambo
Extract Date: 1999 December 16

Thousands Threatened With Acute Food Shortage In Tanzania

Copyright (c) 1999 Panafrican News Agency.

At least one million people are faced with an acute food shortage in Tanzania due to the prevailing dry spell in several regions of the country.

In Singida, at least 150,000 are in need of emergency food aid while the number is four times in Shinyanga. The acting Singida regional commissioner, Martin Mgongolwa said, a deficit of 9,500 tonnes of food is imminent.

In Shinyanga 158,000 tonnes of grain would have to be sent to boost the available 395,000 tonnes of food needed to sustain the region's 2.53 million inhabitants.

Mgongolwa told reporters that more than 156,000 people in 142 villages have been affected by the drought in Singida and needed an emergency food aid.

The region, where rainfall is extremely unreliable, received 13,000 tonnes of food from the World Food Programme in 1998 'but this ran out in March,' he added.

Shinyanga's regional commissioner, Tumainieli Kiwelu, said the drought in the region was as a result of an accumulated food shortage owing to unfavourable weather conditions since 1997.

'Given a good yield, Shinyanga farmers produce up to 80 percent of the total food requirements in the region,' he said.

The region has only received an average rainfall of 500 millimeters, which cannot sustain a maize yield. The food shortage in Shinyanga and Singida became certain when the Food and Agricultural Organisation indicated that Tanzania would be facing the hardship despite favourable rains.

The organisation's report indicated that Tanzania's total cereal production in 1999 would reach 3.76 million tonnes, which is lower than that of 1998 by 10 percent.

Other factors contributing to the precarious food situation include an attack of Army Worms in Morogoro, Arusha and Kilimanjaro.

Tanzania imported over 550,000 tonnes of cereals in 1998 to curb a looming food shortage.

But the food deficit could not be avoided in 1999 and the Economic Intelligence Unit noted that Tanzania needed to import 600,000 tonnes of cereals to meet the country's food demands.

FAO and the World Food Programme have said Tanzania's Strategic Grain Reserve lacks the capacity to meet emergency food needs, as stocks have been progressively depleted and maintained below target.

Extract ID: 1458

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All Africa.com
Extract Date: 2001 Jan 4

Army Worms Attack Tanzanian Farms As Drought Ends

Panafrican News Agency, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

After experiencing a long period of drought accompanied by acute famine, peasants in some parts of Tanzania sighed with relief when rain started falling early December.

Most of them had pegged hopes on food crops expected to ripen soon to calm the pangs of hunger.

But their hopes have now evaporated into thin air as 7,780 hectares of food crops in four regions have been attacked by Army Worms, destroying 1,600 hectares of food plant.

And as if this was not enough, another eight regions are also likely to be invaded by the worms.

Thus earlier predictions by the World Food Programme that Tanzania might need relief food only until April have almost been derailed.

Among the regions already invaded by the worms are Iringa and Mbeya, located in the Southern Highlands, which are major producers of maize and rice.

Others include the semi-arid central regions of Dodoma, Singida, Shinyanga and parts of Arusha region in the north.

The Agriculture Ministry and Food Security have predicted that Morogoro, Mwanza, Kilimanjaro, Tabora and Tanga are among regions which are likely to be attacked by the worms between now and May.

According to an agricultural officer in the Department of Plant Protection, Richard Magoma, the ministry has been warning farmers of Army Worms attacks and have been supplying pesticides to control them.

He also explained that the government has already disbursed substantial amounts of pesticides to the affected areas to fight the insects.

However, the officer's report seems to contradict with realities as reports reaching Dar es Salaam reveal that farmers in the affected regions have been taken unawares by the Army Worms' attacks.

In fact, in one village in Singida region where Army Worms have attacked 40 hectares, there were only three litres of pesticides which could do little to control the worms.

Lack of communication between the villages and the districts has also aggravated the problem as district agricultural officers tend to receive information after the worms had done substantial damages.

Observers noted that the ministry and Food Security may not have responded fast enough on the Army Worms' attacks which were first reported in the Iringa region during the first week of December before they spread to other regions.

If the ministry had responded promptly, then the attacks would not have spread so far and caused such severe damage, the observers argued.

Extract ID: 2895

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BBC internet news
Extract Date: 20 March, 2002

Army worms ravage Tanzania crops

Army-worms have devoured about 30,000 acres of crops and pasture in the northern regions of Tanzania, raising fears of food shortages.

Farmers in the Arusha and Kilimanjaro regions have lost their maize to the pests which are spreading swiftly with the help of strong winds.

The worms invaded the area last month but efforts to exterminate the Army Worms have been hampered by a lack of pesticides.

Plans to plant beans, one of the major food and commercial crops in the regions, have been put on hold for fear that the plants will be devoured by the Army Worms.

Desperate farmers are doing anything they can think of to fight the pests, including covering their plants in ash to deter the worms from landing on them.

'Bush-fire'

A resident of Moshi rural in Kilimanjaro region, Alloyce Lyimo was quoted by Tanzania's Guardian newspaper as saying that all of his three hectares of maize plants have been destroyed.

"Our major problem is that the wind is still blowing and the army-worms are spreading like bush-fire to other areas," he said.

The Department of Agriculture in the regions has been blamed for failing to control the pests despite being advised of the invasion of the destructive Army Worms.

Farming experts have been despatched to the affected areas and neighbouring villages to assess the extent of the damage.

Extract ID: 3385
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