Story by Gay Matambo
SUGAR plantations in the Lowveld have been hit by an outbreak of yellow aphids, with stakeholders pulling resources to control the pests.
With 2022 figures showing that the sugar industry lost close to five per cent of its revenue to yellow sugarcane aphids, the Zimbabwe Sugar Association Experiment Station has intensified engagement efforts with out-growers to control the pests that have infested almost all of the three sugarcane plantations in Chiredzi.
The rallying call is for sugar cane farmers to control the pests when their crop is most vulnerable to attack.
“Aphids are predominant around October in summer. From September to around March, the industry is hit by aphids. We urge farmers to monitor young cane, especially in October. We also urge farmers to apply Actara during planting as this may prevent the cane from being ravaged by aphids. Aphids also thrive in grasses and weeds found at the edges of the fields. Farmers should constantly weed their fields and spray their fields using the prescribed insecticides,” said Ms Concillia Mukanga, ZSAES senior research entomologist.
The aphid outbreak is threatening this year’s output of the strategic crop, hence calls for stakeholders to join hands in fighting the pests.