THE Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) is training its facilitators to capacitate farmers on how to control the spread of fall armyworm and other pests that have caused massive crop damage in farmlands.
Farm Field School (FFS) is a project under the livelihoods Food Security Programme (LFSP) which is funded by the United Kingdom and managed by FAO.

Speaking during an FFS training in Mutare last Friday, FAO crops officer Mr Obert Maminimini said the organisation sought to educate farmers through FFS approach on how to tackle pests like fall armyworm that were causing crop damage, threatening to food security.

“Fall armyworm is a pest causing a lot of havoc particularly threatening maize, attacking cotton, soyabean, potato and tobacco fields. We are using FFS approach to find ways of tackling and managing the pest. Farmers will be learning and also given the opportunity to try out new technologies to fight the pest.

“FAO has initiated the process of procuring pheromone insect lure traps which are used for capturing armyworm and monitoring their spread,” he said.

Extension workers from different districts and world based extension officers attended the workshop.
He indicated that after training these facilitators would go into their areas and set up FFS where they would come up with solutions which are relevant to situations in their districts.

“We are not only giving them solutions but we are helping them to generate their own strategies to deal with pesticides,” he added.

He also said there were high chances of cereal stocks in the region being attacked by the pests due to a spell of dry weather and erratic rains earlier in the season.

“We are confident that farmers will embrace FFS since this fall armyworm, invasive species that has now been detected in all countries of the subregion is suspected to reach some communities in rural areas while the general dry weather may help it spread and could exacerbate the impact on yields,” he said.

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