It was a worst nightmare that made some peasants desists from continuing to grow corn. In response, government-controlled pesticides were made available to farmers to reduce crop damage caused by these armyworms.
The research played a big role
According to researchers, the trend of armyworms attacks has been decreasing since 2018 in Togo.
"First of all, we identified the insecticides that are used in the field then, we test a number of them to see if these insecticides are effective to be used against this armyworm", testifies the Dr. Komi Agboka, professor-researcher at the University of Lome (Togo).
He cited as example "metazia (very weak in effectiveness), the thiodalm (recommended by the State but which was not at all effective on the ground), the oil of neem (which in turn gave a good result in terms of reduction of infestations but unfortunately, this reduction of infestation is not translated into yield) ".
The teacher-researcher reveals that currently the one used and which is acceptable in relation to the reduction of the infestation and the expected yield is the Emacot (Insecticide authorized against armyworms).
Tests to better tame the armyworms
Researchers at the University of Lome have identified a substance involved in the mating of this insect and have synthesized the product that attracts it. It is a trap that allows seeing the dynamics of the insect's stand with inside, the pheromone that is substance developed taking into account the process of mating the insect.
"With these traps, we collect the adults that fall in and we try to see also the infestations in the field. The main objective is to see if it is possible to trigger a fight from the catches. It is necessary to treat but to see the threshold of capture and the threshold of infestation in the field", they detail.
The phenomenon is not peculiar to Togo. In the United States, Brazil or South America, the researchers estimate that if "the infestation in the field reaches a level of 30%, it will be necessary to trigger the treatment".
In Togo, the researchers are planning to combine the threshold at the level of fields and captures to make a system of foresight and early warning.
"When the larva grows up to a certain level and turns into a chrysalis (transient stage to become a butterfly), it falls into the ground and from there it reaches the stage of maturation to transform itself into butterfly and the butterflies lay eggs for the cycle to resume", explained them.
Use of chemicals: danger!
Entomologist Koffi Djima is seriously warning peasants about the use of these chemicals to fight armyworms. According to him, the use of these chemicals causes a serious threat to the environment (air, soil and water), which always receives the residues of all these products and the man remains at the center of any anomaly.
"The attack of armyworms and the damage done is a threat to food safety. The spraying by chemicals has increased for the counterattack. Unfortunately, these products are poorly used by producers," he noticed.
For him, it urges to educate farmers because the mishandling of these products remains a real danger to human health.
"When these products come in contact with the body, there are several sites of action. Diseases are developed in the long run like skin cancer, dysfunction of reproductive systems, asthma, etc.", informs Dr. Djima.
Hoping that one day, a sustainable solution will be found to stop the damage done by the armyworms, peasants should not neglect their health for the time being. Protective clothing is strongly recommended to avoid contact between these spray products and the body; very important for their survival.