By Ginika Okoye
Jigawa is free of armyworms infestation on maize farms, Gov. Badaru Abubakar has said.
Abubakar said this while in Dutse on Saturday while speaking with journalists.
He stated that although there is no report of armyworms presence in the state, the government has taken proactive measures aimed at preventing an infestation of the pest by acquiring agro-chemicals.
The African armyworm (Spodoptera exempta), also called or nutgrass worm is an African moth. It is a deleterious pest, capable of destroying entire crops in a matter of weeks.
They are caterpillar pests of grass pastures and cereal crops.
He said the state government had trained no fewer than 574 youths on pests control.
The governor added that the state government had a limited number of maize farms and did not have comparative advantage over the crop.
“We are working on hybrid maize that will be good in most areas in the state.
“When we had reports about armyworm in Kenya, we raised alarm to the Federal Government and since then, we have been looking out in our state.
“We have a stock of agro chemicals to tackle the problem if such appears. Up till now, I have not seen any report on armyworm.
“We do not do too much maize in Jigawa State because we do not have serious comparative advantage in it.
“In Jigawa, we support our farmers to grow crops that we have comparative advantage in.
“We do not have too much maize farms and up till now I have not seen a report on armyworm infestations but even if it comes, we are ready for it.’’
On quila bird destruction of farms, the governor said the state had entered into an agreement with agricultural aircraft owners for them to spray pesticides on farms across the state.
“We have started seeing quila birds in the farms. We already have an agreement with aircraft owners; we have chemicals already.
“They will come and do 20 hours of spraying of pesticides; so, we are ready to handle the pests.’’
Abubakar further said the government usually adopted the strategy of repayment with other crops in case of any ravaging of farms.
According to him, the government is also encouraging farmers to produce sesame seeds in commercial quantity and standard quality to enable them to meet international standard.
He assured farmers that the government would support and encourage them to improve agricultural production in the state.