Presidency has alerted of the invasion of armyworms in farmland likely to reduce the production of maize in the country this year.
Unless the armyworms are wiped out, the agriculture ministry said they could reduce the nation’s maize production by 90 per cent.
Agriculture and rural development, Chief Audu Ogbeh who raised the alarm at a meeting with agriculture commissioners from the 36 states in Abuja, estimated that the armyworms affected 700,000 hectare of farmland planted with maize.
According to him, “It (armyworm) is destroying maize production in the country. It poses a threat to production of 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 severe impact on poultry. And for a country facing food shortage, especially in the North-East, we will not allow it to continue.”
The ministry’s deputy director of horticulture, Mike Kanu told the meeting that the armyworms which entered Nigeria from Benin Republic destroyed farmland in Oyo state in 2016.
Since then, Kanu said the armyworms which moved in mass and travel at 100 kilometres per hour has spread to other states.
He warned that Nigeria may resort to massive importation of maize of the armyworms are not contained as the country now produce only 10 million metric tonnes out of 15 million metric tonnes it consumes yearly.
“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,” Mr Kanu stated.