On 2 February, the Limpopo Department of Agriculture and Rural Development acknowledged that farmers and other stakeholders in the Limpopo province have been reporting incidents of fall armyworm (FAW) in all the districts of the province, with Capricorn and Sekhukhune having the least reported incidents.

FAW was first detected in the province in early 2017 and causes damage through a worm that attacks primarily maize, sorghum and nearly 70 other host species. FAW is an exotic pest originating in Central America. Its moths can fly thousands of kilometres in a short period of time and mostly fly according to the direction of the wind.

In this current maize planting season, farmers and other stakeholders from affected areas such as Mutale, Matangari, Thohoyandou, Mashamba, Virani in the Vhembe district, Lulekani, Nwamitwa and Hoedspruit in the Mopani district, Thabazimbi, Bela Bela, Mookgopong, Mokgalakwena in the Waterberg district, Polokwane in the Capricorn district and Groblersdal in the Sekhukhune district started reporting FAW incidences. These incidences were confirmed by local agricultural technicians and monitoring trap catches were placed in some of these areas.

Affected farmers are therefore advised to report FAW incidences to their local agricultural offices immediately for assistance with identification, confirmation and management of the pest. – Press release