By Ndafadza Madanha
SWISS based Syngenta through its local agent Intaba trading will introduce maize seed treated with Fortenza Duo (FD) to help farmers curb the Fall Army Worm (FAW).
FAW has wrecked havoc on the maize crop in sub Saharan Africa since it arrival in 2016 and worsened the food security position on the continent.
A study on the impact of the fall armyworm in eastern Zimbabwe reveals that nearly 12 percent of crops are lost annually due to the infestation. And the study states that if the problem spreads throughout the entire country tonnes of grain to the value of $32 million could be lost.
However, Intaba Trading Operations and Sales manager Talk Chinoda said the introduction of the FD seed will protect maize crop against FAW in its early stages.
“We shall introduce maize seed treated with Fortenza Duo. So FD is a seed treatment chemical which is used when treating seed. It will have an effect of protecting the crop against Fall Armyworm on it’s early stages. It will remain in the plant system for the first 4 weeks after germination, so you won’t need to spray against Fall armyworm during that period”.
He said the seed had undergone trials and was going through the necessary regulatory approvals before it is released on the market.
“It was a trial and the government extension officers are still working on getting some feed back from the farmers who tried it. Yes, it will be ready for this season”.
Some of the countries that have approved Fortenza Duo products include Argentina, Belize, Brazil, Canada, China, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Paraguay, Turkey, USA.
Future registrations will include: India, Thailand, Myanmar, Uruguay and other countries: South Africa, Colombia, Bolivia, Philippines, Ecuador, Japan, Vietnam
GOAL Zimbabwe has now teamed up with CIMMYT to identify conditions that promote fall armyworm infestation in order to educate farmers on best practices to fight the problem.
Regular weeding, conservation agriculture, use of manure and compost, and ending pumpkin intercropping have been found to help prevent infestation.
Gift Mashango from GOAL Zimbabwe, said, “The fall armyworm has further worsened the food security situation of smallholder farmers who are already coping with an ailing economy and climate change. Besides the adverse effects posed to the environment by chemical methods of combating the pest, the smallholder farmer cannot afford to meet the associated costs, hence the need to come up with innovative cost-effective farming systems like climate smart agriculture.”