Reports from all Eritrean regions witness that Fall Army Worm (FAW) population is decreasing thanks to the decisive and instant measures that included rogging out and burning of FAW infected maize taken by the Government and the people of Eritrea prior to the upcoming main rainy season.
According to the reports from the regions, the number of male FAW moths being caught by the indicative pheromone traps distributed throughout the country is getting lower and lower in the past two months. In the month of March, it was reported that on average 37 male moths per trap in a week were being caught. In April, the number decreased to six and in Ma, it was reduced to only two.
“Although, these facts are promising, it doesn’t mean that we will be free from FAW in the coming rainy season. Since this pest is going to be one of the permanent pests in our country, we need to put integrated pest management systems in place” said Mr. Tedros Sium, Head of Migratory Pests Control Unit at the Ministry of Agriculture.
According to Mr. Tedros, in line with the efforts that have been taken to prevent FAW distribution through integrated control mechanism, the Ministry of Agriculture conducted various high-level meetings gave various training, distributed educational publications in different local languages. Moreover, to reach rural communities on time through various information sharing mechanisms, the Ministry has so far disseminated essential information related to the incidence of FAW and management mechanism through local media outlets. Documentaries, TV spots, circulars, and other informative programs that are related to FAW have also been broadcasted in all local languages.
It is to be recalled that FAW has been detected in Eritrea in the month of February, 2018 in small plots of irrigated farms in some regions of the country. FAW was detected mainly in maize plant intercropped with vegetables. Then, the Ministry of Agriculture took urgent mechanical and cultural control measures in collaboration with farmers and other stakeholders to address the issue in its early stage.
Mr. Tedros stressed that since the pest could not be eradicated and is here to stay in the country, some outbreaks are likely to occur in the country in areas that receive early summer rainfall.
He finally urged all regions of the country to strictly follow and adopt the directives being sent to them from the Ministry of Agriculture headquarters. It is to be noted that Integrated Pest Management is so far the best option to control FAW.