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Army worms threaten Tanzanian northern maize farms 

DAR ES SALAAM Tanzania (Xinhua) -- At least 400 hectares of maize field in Tanzania’s northern district of Arusha are on the brink of destruction after an invasion of fall armyworms, destructive pests that are threatening food security in some parts of the country, an expert said Thursday.

Bahati Ndillahomba, a plant protection officer in Arusha district, said the armyworms have invaded farms in the district, causing extensive damage in most maize fields.

“This is a serious problem, which could get out of control if not well handled,” warned Ndillahomba.

Erwin Kinsey, Director of ECHO East Africa Impact Center, appealed to the experts in the agricultural sector to come up with ways to put an end to the threat of the pests.

Kinsey said the invasion should serve as a wake-up call on the farmers’ preparedness on averting the invasion.

Unlike the African armyworm, the fall armyworm originates from the Americas. They are difficult to detect and can cause rapid and full destruction of the crops.

Last year, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization entered into two agreements worth 2 million U.S. dollars with Tanzanian government to boost surveillance of fall armyworms. Heavy rain wrecks havoc in eastern Tanzania



Heavy rains destroy paddy and maize fields in Tanzania

DAR ES SALAAM Tanzania (Xinhua) -- Heavy rains have destroyed at least 8,652 hectares of paddy and maize field in Tanzania’s eastern region of Morogoro, leaving 6,300 people homeless, a senior official said on Wednesday.

Steven Kebwe, the Morogoro regional commissioner, said the rains have caused flash floods in Kilosa district where more than 1,600 houses have been damaged.

“The Morogoro regional authorities in collaboration with Kilosa district authorities have started taking precaution measures against epidemics such as cholera,” Kebwe told the region’s defense and security committee.

He added that authorities were also organizing the acquisition of relief supplies to the victims sheltered in schools and churches.

Last week, heavy rains left at least 2,500 people homeless after they had destroyed 106 houses in Tanzania’s central region of Dodoma.

Simon Odunga, Chemba District Commissioner in Dodoma Region, said the heavy rains mostly affected three villages of Mrijo Chini, Kaloleni and Olborot.

“Most of the houses in these villages have been destroyed, leaving over 2,500 people homeless,” Odunga told a news conference in Chemba district.

Odunga said most of the victims were being sheltered by relatives and friends, with some accommodated in special camps.

He said the victims, including children and women, were in dire need of humanitarian assistance, including medicines, mattresses as well as food.



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