By Namugerwa Martha

The armyworm pest outbreaks in Uganda and is spotted in districts like Mukono, Kasese, Kayunga and Bukedea.

Vincent Ssempijja, the minister of Agriculture, Animal industry and Fisheries has confirmed that this pest is very dangerous and its reproduction is at a high rate.

“This fly lays 2000 eggs and this army worm or caterpillar pest is its second stage and the most dangerous one.” Hon. Ssempijja warned.

Ssempijja added that this pest almost feeds to more than 80 plant species including   legumes and cereals like maize, millet, sorghum, sugarcane, rice and wheat.

“This pest can be identified by its Y mark on the front of the head and 4 large spots towards the end of its abdomen.” Hon. Ssempijja added.

He further added that this pest outbreak was first observed in countries like Togo, Ghana, Zambia, South Africa, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia and Kenya.

Ssempijja promised the farmers that the government has put in shs1 billion to help in the eradication of this pest in the country.

Adding that this pest first eats the stem of the crop then the leaves living the plant turning purple.

Ssempijja has urged to the farmers to stay calm because the research is going on to establish long term effectiveness and robust control measures of this pest.

Further  the minister added that the government is going to start teaching the district leaders on how to go about the pest and its eradication.