The nation’s maize growers are concerned because armyworms are becoming resistant to insecticides. This comes up when the Agriculture Season 2024 A picks up steam; Season A usually starts in September.
More than 80 crop species are consumed by the insect pest known as fall armyworm, which damages grains like maize, rice, sorghum, and legumes among other crops.
Farmers said that autumn armyworms are becoming more resistant to insecticides in spite of government interventions.
We employ three different types of insecticides. However, armyworms defy our application of these insecticides after they have already heavily damaged the maize fields. As the pests are not yet widespread in the maize fields, we have chosen to apply pesticides early on, according to Evariste Tugirinshuti, president of the Rwanda Maize Farmer Cooperatives Federation, who spoke with The New Times.
Dry periods during Agriculture Season 2023 A amplified the impact of fall armyworms.
According to several members of COOPROMASA, a cooperative in the Gatsibo District that grows soybeans and maize, they used rocket pesticide, but the armyworms didn’t perish.
Tugirinshuti claims that although the pests resisted the insecticide, farmers still depend on it because of its effectiveness.
Between 20 and 40 percent of the crop from the previous season was lost by some farmers.
While there are farmers who are already impacted in other regions of the country, “we are hopeful that the impact might be minimal this season in Kirehe District due to the rains,” he stated.
Fall armyworms have also been reported to have invaded the 75-hectare maize farm owned by Twizamure Cyuve, a farmers’ cooperative in Musanze District’s Cyuve area.
“We planted Hybrid 628 maize seeds. The maize harvests were robust. Nevertheless, armyworms had already attacked them when they were weeding. Already, the leaves are harmed. There is no hope for a bumper crop. Farmers Gloriose Nyirabariha stated, “We need effective pesticides because the pests are resistant to the ones we use.”
RAB explains the resistance of armyworms.
The Rwanda Agriculture and Animal Resources Board (RAB) in the Musanze District states that a review of the current pesticides has to be done.
Athanase Hategekimana, who oversees RAB’s efforts to combat pests and agricultural diseases, warned farmers “not to use one type of pesticide consecutively” in the meanwhile.
Fall armyworms become resistant when farmers consistently apply the same kind of pesticide.