DESPITE receiving good rains and many farmers happily preparing to plant crops, the emergence of a variety of pests is putting the production process under threat.
Farmers in Otjozondjupa and Omaheke regions said that mice are attacking their mahangu crops relentlessly.
Percy Misika the executive director of the Ministry of Agriculture Water and Land Reform said that Namibia has been invaded with new invasive species of crop pests and diseases as a result of the severe drought of the past few years.
Crop production is increasingly under threat due to plant pests and diseases, hence there is a need to apply pests and disease control measures annually.
Misika noted that the trans-boundary crop pests and diseases such as the armoured ground cricket, African Armyworm, Fall Armyworm, Tomato leaf miners, fruit flies, and African Migratory Locust are likely to be reported in the ten crop-growing regions (Kavango East, Kavango West, Zambezi, Kunene North, Omusati, Oshana, Oshikoto, Ohangwena, Otjozondjupa and Omaheke regions.
According to Masika the Ministry has advised and encouraged crop farmers to visit their crop fields on regular basis to conduct surveillance for possible pest infestations.
“Once they detect some crop pests, farmers are recommended to apply different control methods known to combat specific threats,” Misika said.
Masika lastly indicated that farmers should inform Agricultural Extension officers about any pests or diseases causing damage to their fields.
The Agriculture Extension officer will instruct farmers on the measures to be taken including the correct pesticides to ensure good crop management.
Some farmers came up with simple but effective ideas to kill pests such as mice before they can do too much damage to their growing crops.