The Famine Early Warning Network report for July however said food security among poor households will improve due to the availability of some harvests and declining market prices. It concludes that due to the combined impact of below-average rainfall and Fall Armyworm, national production is expected to be 15 to 30 percent below average.
Haruna Kasirye, the Luweero District Agriculture Officer says although the maize was attacked by fall army worm, farmers were able to fight it through massive spraying boosted by normal rains as forecast by Uganda National Meteorological Authority.
Jane Namugambe, a resident of Kabanyi village in Luweero Sub County is among the farmers whose maize is under attack by the fall army worm. She blames government for taking long to respond to the problem.
Farmers in the Sub Counties of Aperkira, Ochero, Alwa, Kaberamaido, Bululu, Kobulubulu, Kalaki, Kakure, Apapai and Anyara have reported significant losses as the caterpillars march across gardens in large groups feasting on maize, sorghum and millet gardens.
The Ministry of Agriculture announced yesterday that it had secured 4.5 billion Shillings to be used to buy pesticides, motorized spray pumps and for holding awareness meetings with farmers as it seeks to battle the deadly caterpillars that have devastated gardens in more than 50 districts.
Agriculture Minister, Vincent Bamulangaki Sempijja confirmed that the Fall Army-worm has marched further to 54 districts. The Government has subsequently increased the funding towards emergency coordination against the Fall Army-worm believed to have been in the country since mid-last year.
Agriculture Minister, Vincent Bamulangaki Sempijja while announcing the outbreak on Friday alluded to the fact that the outbreak would have an impact on the countrys economy and foreign exchange earnings.
The Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries has tasked a private company to conduct a trial on insecticides that can combat the outbreak of fall army worms. Haruna Kasirye, the Luweero District Agriculture Officer, says that a sample of caterpillars that were picked from maize gardens and sent to Crop Protection Department of the Ministry of Agriculture revealed that they were fall army worms.
The discovery raises fear among farming communities following reports that the worms have razed gardens in areas where they were first reported adding to the devastation caused by a prolonged dry spell and severe drought, caused by the El Nino weather pattern in 2015-2016.
Dr Georg Goergen, an Entomologist with Biological Control Centre for Africa and International Institute of Tropical Agriculture IITA confirmed in an email that the fall army worm is already in Burundi.