In the 2018-19 agricultural campaign, the nation of Mozambique lost over 40,000 hectares of cultivated land because of the abuse by farmers of pesticides in an attempt to control insect pests.
Aderito Lazaro of the Plant Health Department in the Ministry of Agriculture, said: "The use of chemicals should be a last resort. However, at the first sign of a pest, the producers grab their pesticides, and one of the mistakes is that they use the same substance repeatedly. They should rotate."
Lazaro cited the case of Boane district, 30 kilometres west of Maputo, where farmers had doubled the amount of pesticides used per week - without getting rid of the pests damaging the maize crop. Insects are showing signs of resistance to pesticides throughout the country.
The Agriculture Ministry, in partnership with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), has publicised methods to handle pests through an integrated range of measures, including not only conventional insecticides, but also biological pesticides and improved seed.
Meanwhile, a new pest is threatening banana growers in Chokwe district, in the Limpopo valley. This is the banana bunchy top virus (BBTV). To prevent the spread of the virus the authorities are destroying infected banana trees in several plantations.