Midlands Correspondent
THE Zimbabwe Farmers Union (ZFU) has urged farmers to be on high alert for possible outbreaks of pests and diseases, which might affect both crops and livestock.

This comes as farmers in most parts of the Midlands are battling to contain an outbreak of the fall armyworm, which, according to the department of Agritex, has ravaged 20 percent of the maize crop in the province.

ZFU coordinator for Shurugwi, Mrs Ella Mazanhi said there was need to intensify pest and disease monitoring and surveillance and putting in place mechanisms to handle potential outbreaks.

She said rains that fell in the past weeks had triggered diseases and pests, hence the need for vigilance on the part of farmers.

“We have had reports of cattle in the province being affected by internal parasites and when you see this happening you should seek the services of the veterinary services,” said Mrs Mazanhi.

She encouraged farmers to take advantage of the current rains to harvest water to ensure that their crops mature even if the rainy season ends early.

“There is need for farmers to harvest water and trap water through the creation of contour ridges so that the crops can also have enough moisture in the event that the rains stop,” she said.

Mrs Mazanhi said farmers should consult ZFU officials and other agricultural experts on weeding, as some chemicals could ruin crops.

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