Before I talk much about the idea I would like to promote, let me share with you the motivation behind my idea. Fall armyworm is a notorious pest that is affecting our staple crop in Africa – maize. One day, I visited my village during the cropping season. I saw children going into the maize field only to come out with cups filled with fall armyworm. That told me a story and I felt bad about it. I want to try something out.
Have you ever thought of less pesticides or completely no use of synthetic chemicals? In my opinion a lot of pests have evolved to be resistant to synthetic pesticides and they have damaged the environment. If we aim for sustainability, a natural product may be the way to go. I want to use cheap and sustainable ways to fight against fall armyworm.
Therefore, what are the steps?
I will set up an experiment in a controlled environment. I will plant maize and infest it with fall armyworm. For the natural product, I am planning to use small fish locally known as bonya. I will prepare a soup by boiling the fish in water for at least few minutes. Then, it will be cooled before removing the water and using the residue to spray on the whorl of infested maize. I will taste different volumes and see which one is effective. The experiment can take me 4-5 months to complete. The fish will not be wasted but processed into other products like sausage.
The key stakeholders could be government, university and farmers are direct beneficiaries. By the end of it. I expect adoption of the idea at national level.
Love nature, use local products!!
Florence Simbota, Malawi