By Fazilla Tembo

A total of 20 out of the country’s 28 districts in Malawi have been affected by a Fall Armyworm invasion causing serious threats to food security..

This has forced  President Peter Mutharika to declare   all the affected  districts  disaster areas with immediate effect.

The Fall Armyworm infestation has effected   thousands of hectares and over130,000 farming families during the 2017/2018 season.

In a national address, the President  said  the  government and its development partners were  implementing interventions to contain the spread and impact of  the Fall Armyworm outbreak.

“So far, a cumulative total of 56,082 litres of pesticide have been procured and distributed  to smallholder farmers to spray in the infested fields,” he said.

He pointed out that government still needed  more money  to procure additional pesticides as the current stock is inadequate to contain the situation as the cropping season progresses.

Some of the interventions which government has put in place include procurement and installation of  traps  in several districts to monitor the prevalence of the pest, intensifying training of front line staff, traditional, political and church leaders as well as farmers on the identification and management of the pest.

Furthermore, he said, government has enhanced sensitization and awareness campaigns.

The Malawi leader added that as a medium and short-term strategy, his government has commenced developing the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategy in order to augment the chemical control  that is being done currently.

However, President Mutharika observed that in such circumstances, it was clear that there is a serious crop pest infestation that is posing a major threat to food security in Malawi.

Meanwhile in Zimbabwe, the country has over the last few months experienced strange weather developments.

First the country experienced record breaking high temperatures before experiencing record low temperatures.

Some parts of Zimbabwe experienced destructive hail storms which destroyed homes, schools, vehicles, gardens and other properties.

ACCCKF

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About the writer: Fazilla Tembo is one of several journalists from Southern Africa who has received training on gender, Climate Change and the media facilitated by UN Women and Southern African  Journalists .