The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development have raised the alarm over the resurface of the Army worm which have been ravaging maize farms across the country.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh who raised this alarm while hosting the Commissioners of Agriculture from the 36 states including FCT, said if the pest if not controlled, could cause severe maize shortage in the country.
Ogbeh also said the pest which is currently ravaging farms also poses threat to the poultry industry, which if not controlled will result in the skyrocketing of prices of poultry products.
According to him “it (Army worm) is destroying maize production in the country. It poses threat to production not only maize but other important crops.
“If we don’t deal with it, maize production may become almost impossible here, the impact of shortage of maize have become severe in poultry, and for a country facing food shortage, especially in the North-East, we will not allow it to continue”.
Meanwhile, the Deputy Director of Horticulture at the Ministry, Mike Kanu in his presentation said that a total of N2.98 billion will be need to contain the pest for 700,000 hectares across the country.
“Implementation of the proposed intervention across the 36 states and FCT on 700,000 hectares for over 700,000 maize farmers is projected at N2.98 billion”, Kanu stated.
The Worm which is believed to find its way into Nigeria from Benin Republic through Oyo state attacks other crops including grasses, Sorghum, Barley, Millet, wheat and rice.
Other Crops that harbor the pest include Cotton, Tomato, groundnut ginger, and are found in high density areas.
The pest if not controlled could cause 90-95 per cent severe damage on maize with 48 hours.
Currently, the pest have spread to South East, South West, South South, North East and North West.