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Armyworm: FAO cautions farmers on pesticides

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Armyworm: FAO cautions farmers on pesticides

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nation, has cautioned Nigerian farmers on the use of pesticides and other chemicals in combating armyworm.

It said that pesticides, if wrongly applied in the farm could affect the environment adversely.

FAO Country Representative in Nigeria, Suffyan Koroma, made this call in Abuja when the Nigeria government signed a Technical Cooperation Project (TCP) agreement with FAO. The pact is meant to tackle the menace of the Fall Armyworm (FAW) across the country.

Speaking about some of the challenges farmers in Nigeria and other parts of Africa had to tackle, he said that FAO had put in place a robust plan to assist farmers in Nigeria to achieve food security.

Armyworm infestation was one of the challenges facing farmers in Nigeria and some other parts of Africa. It also had threatened the journey to food security and sufficiency.

Koroma noted that with the agreement, farmers will be better off in their effort to have improved crops yield.

He also gave assurance that appropriate action was being taken to ease the damage to crops and loss of income.

“Unguided use of pesticides may not only result in environmental contamination, it can also increase the cost of production through frequent costly spraying, which  poses a real challenge to sustainable and profitable production of maize among small holder farmers,” he said.

“There is extra risk for heightened pesticide residue in farm environments and the consumption the produce, therefore, an increase in demand for pesticide application to protect crops from FAW will translate into more pesticide exposure for humans, livestock and other non-target organism and objects including ‘natural enemies’ which can often provide FAW control.

“Farmers should not panic at the sign of FAW infestation, but to inform plant protection and extension services for guidance on the best available solutions.”

Earlier in his address, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, said that the capacity of farmers within the ECOWAS region needs to be built for the region to become self-sufficient in food production.

Ogbeh also lamented the devastation that armyworm and other natural disasters have caused to farmers and agricultural activities within the region, which he said had seriously affected food production.

and the desire to reduce import.

The Minister noted that the issue of pest devastation has terrible consequences on the Nigerian economy as Armyworm had not only affected maize but other crops such as rice, wheat, sorghum and vegetable crops.

“If we do not contain the FAW infestations, it is likely to compromise our agriculture efforts in this country. I want to make a passionate appeal to all agencies especially FAO to be on the standby and come to our rescue”, he added.

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