President Peter Mutharika has declared 20 districts that were affected by crop-munching armyworms as disaster areas.
Malawi’s maize crop, the staple grain for the impoverished nation, has been devastated by the pest which has infested 35,870 hectares, or 50.3 percent.
In a statement released by press secretary and presidential spokesman Mgeme Kalilani, Mutharika has assured Malawians that government will do all it can to contain the situation.
He emphasised that additional resources will be required to implement interventions aimed at addressing further spread and management of the pest.
Mutharika disclosed that 56 052 litres of pesticides has been procured and distributed to Agriculture Extension Planning Areas where smallholder farmers are accessing them for spraying the infected fields.
“As medium to long-term strategy , government has also commended developing the Integrated Pest Management [IPM) strategy to augment the chemical control that is being done currently and will further embark on further studies for better understanding of the biology and ecology of the pest as well biological control of the pest,” reads a statement from State House.
Mutharika is appealing for more support from the International donor community and relevant United Nations agencies, to deal with the situation.
The armyworms are caterpillars that “march” across the landscape in large groups feasting on young maize plants, wiping out entire fields.