ELIM - After ravaging crop fields in Omusati region, farmers worry the after effect of the worms may again cripple their harvest this year.
As a result of the worm invasion, some farmers whose crops were completely destroyed are forced to re-tilt and replant.
Those whose crops were already about knee length at the time of the worm invasion can only hope their crops will keep growing.
However, the farmers remain shattered as the good rains received this far was their chance to recover from last year’s drought.
“The sky still looks promising; hence, we will just re-tilt and plant again – and if it doesn’t rain, we will live with what we have,” said Petrus Junias from the Omulondo gwaMbulu in the Elim constituency.
Junias’ crops were completely destroyed, leaving only weedlings and grass in the field. He says the worm does not feed on other plants; it only attacks mahangu crops.
The worm completely destroys small crops but with bigger plants, it only feeds on the leaves, leaving them shredded.
Junias said in an attempt to contain the worm, his family had to dig trenches to trap the worm.
“We dug trenches and also collected them by hand. As you can see, there are only a few minor ones here and there,” said Junias.
His wife Soina Simon added that in addition to the trenches dug, they spent one week collecting them by hand.
“Fortunately, small frogs later appeared and fed on these worms, reducing the number significantly,” Simon said.
The headman of Iihanguti Festus Gabriel said the worm attacked various crop fields in his village. “I lost track of counting; the reports of the worm attack have been storming in, however, now it (worm) seems to be disappearing,” said Gabriel.
The headman, however, encouraged fellow villagers not to despair, but to keep pushing for a better harvest.
“It is too early to give up; we must continue working in our fields so that we can supplement the limited drought relief food we receive,” said Gabriel.