By Namugerwa Martha

Minister of Agriculture, Animal industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) Vincent Bamulangaki Ssempijja has confirmed that the government has released shs4.5 billion to be used in controlling and researching about armyworm pest.

He said this in press conference which was held at the Media centre in Kampala today.

Ssempijja asserted that the Ministry of Agriculture is partnering with National Agriculture Research Organization (NARO), Operation Wealth Creation to fight and control the spread of the armyworm pest.

“A task force with representation from MAAIF, NARO, private sector, Uganda National Farmers’ Federation and Operation Wealth Creation have been constituted to develop action plans for effective management of the armyworm both in short and long term.” He said.

The minister added that as an emergency intervention, MAAIF is advising farmers to use a pesticide combination of Lambda-cyhalothrin and Thiamethoxam and Rocket at a rate of 20 to 30mls in 15 to 20 liters of water as they explore more sustainable management measures.

“The pest was first detected in three districts of Kasese, Kayunga and Bukedea between May and July in 2016 but to date it has been confirmed in over 54 districts and continues to spread at a high rate.” Ssempijja stated.

The armyworm feeds aggressively on most parts of the plant which includes; leaves stems, maize cobs and tassels except the roots.

Gen. Charles angina ,Deputy Commander of Operation Wealth Creation advised the farmers to start right away with the spraying of the pesticide which they are going to give out.

“We have been given a task as operation wealth creation to give out the pesticide in every district which we are going to deliver in time so that we can save our crops from destruction.” Angina said.