Training Conducted on Fall Army Worm (FAW)

 

Productivity and Environmental Sustainability (PES) for Food Security and Poverty Alleviation Research Theme in collaboration with Agricultural Entomology professionals from the School of Plant Sciences conducted training on Fall Army Worm (FAW) for fifty professionals, Agricultural Office Heads and 32 Development Agents (DAs) of East and West Haragahe zones June 01-02, 2018.

PES Theme Leader, Dr. Awol Seid, in his welcoming speech, said the training will enable the participants to properly identify the pest, the different stages and where to look for it. It will also emphasize the consideration of the indigenous knowledge including the use of botanicals and cultural practices.

During the opening speech Prof. Kebede W/Tsadik, Vice-president for Community Engagement and Enterprise Development of Haramaya University, indicated the timeliness of the training on early detection and possible management options of FAW on irrigated maize that is going to attack the main season cereal production. He also said the efforts and achievements of the University research and extension should be supported by research in order to identify the biological nature and to defend in advance (before spoil the crop) from the worm and to build the capacity of the head of the agriculture bureau officers and experts in order to combat the FAW in East and West Hararghe.

Dr. Mulatu Wakgari, Entomologist and Head of the School of Plant Sciences, said the objective of the training was to create awareness on early detection, identification, biology, damage symptom, and economic importance and management options of the FAW. This unwelcomed pest entered the country a year ago and now it covers almost all regional states of the country except Somali and Afar regions. It is the major pest against maize though over eighty plants species recorded as its host.

He added that the pest has been detected recently in East Hararghe Zone of Oromia Regional State on irrigated maize. This indicates the challenging threat it may pose on the current main season cereal (mainly on maize) production. In view of this, the training was organized to enable agricultural professionals at district levels of the two zones.

The farmers as well as the professionals on the area of the pest production were also advised not to panic on detection of the pest. Close monitoring of the pest population and damage including the consideration of economic thresholds is to be given emphasis. Unless the damage percentage reaches 20% of the plant population, professionals are advised to take all indigenous cultural practices like plowing to kill and expose the larvae to predators, sun for desiccation and smashing of the egg masses. Insecticide use is advised as a last resort when all other means of management fails and the damage level crosses 20% of the plant population. It was added that maximum care should be taken on time of spraying and pesticide management if the use becomes imperative. Insecticide application is recommended to be at late afternoon or evening when the moths are active and pollinators are back to their nest from foraging.

The trainees on their part have expressed about the interventions they have observed, appreciated and acknowledged the performance of the efforts and achievements of the University. They have also raised various questions, their problems and worry on the progresses of the ongoing in their areas. Responses were given by the training organizers.

 

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