By Hileni Nembwaya
A reduction in maize production at the green scheme farms that produce maize is threatening food security in the country following the invasion of the African armyworm that has destroyed large hectares of produce.
Since early this year, a plague of armyworms invaded and caused havoc on maize crops at Etunda, Musese, Sikondo, Ndonga Linena and Uvhungu-Vhungu green scheme farms.
According to Julia Nambili, AGRIBUSDEV chief agronomist Etunda, which was severely affected compared to other green scheme farms, estimated a yield of 1 840 metric tonnes of maize, following a destruction of 230 hectares completely destroyed by armyworm.
Musese irrigation farm planted an area covering 470 hectares that was all destroyed and an estimate yield of 3 760 metric tonnes lost, while Ndonga Linena planted an area measuring 90 hectares, which was also severely affected and reduction in grain yield of 35 percent is expected.
An initial estimate of 720 metric tonnes was expected at Ndonga Linena.
Uvhungu-Vhungu irrigation farm, planted 282 hectares, which was all affected and a reduction in grain yield of 45 percent is expected form the 2 256 metric tonnes which was expected from the planted area.
The Governor of Omusati region, Erginus Endjala when contacted said that maize production at Etunda has been halted at the moment and will resume during the winter season.
“At the moment maize production at Etunda has been stopped and the second plantation will only commence in winter. The armyworm has also disappeared after the heavy rainfall experienced in the area. However, we are still hopeful, despite fears of food security as a large hectare of production has been destroyed after the invasion of army worms,” said Endjala.
Etunda farm manager, Albertus Viljoen could not be reached for comment.
The Etunda irrigation green scheme, which is the biggest farm within AGRIBUSDEV recorded an income of more than N$51 million during the 2014/15 financial year, while in 2015/16 financial an amount of more than N$52 million was recorded.
During the 2014/15 financial year, the scheme recorded an income of more than N$51 million, while in 2015/16 financial an amount of more than N$52 million was recorded.
In addition to the grain reduction, AGRIBUSDEV is also said to be faced with numerous challenges such as effect of climate change on crops, limited budget, delays in implementation of some corporate strategic initiatives, limited key technical people in the domestic markets such as agricultural engineers and high cost of production and operation notably in energy, fertilizer and office rentals.
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