Pests damage agricultural production in Imbo Region

A cornfield ravaged by caterpillars in Rugombo Commune, Cibitoke Province

A cornfield ravaged by caterpillars in Rugombo Commune, Cibitoke Province

“The provinces most affected by plant pests are Cibitoke Bubanza and Rumunge of the Imbo high temperature region. The average agricultural production varies between 50% and 60%. The production average is even less than 50% in some areas of Cibitoke western province”, says Salvator Sindayihebura, Director General of Agriculture.

He says the insects that are harmful to agriculture are also observed in the provinces of Muramvya, Bujumbura and Kayanza.

For him, during the last five agricultural years from 2011-2016, climatic changes were the origin of the introduction, installation, and the spread of pests in the fields. “Such insects include the autumn caterpillar on maize, the tomato caterpillar, fruit flies, eucalyptus pests…” explains Sindayihebura.

He says that the illicit trade and movement of plant products and pesticides may be at the origin of the introduction of quarantine pests.

“Because agricultural production is the main source of income for households, farmers try to combat diseases and pests using pesticides in an uncontrolled way. This sometimes leads to the resistance of the diseases and pests and consequently endangers human health and the environment”, Sindayihebura says.

To address this problem, the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock has made efforts to fight this illegal practice.
“We have strengthened monitoring activities on the national territory to ban the importation of plants and plant products, unlicensed pesticides without import permits and identify the quarantine pests already introduced”, he says.

He asked farmers to cooperate with the plant health inspectors and inform them in case of insect pest cases.