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Antigua sweet potatoes threatened by sweet potato weevil

The weevil bores holes into the tubers, causing them to taste bad and to rot quickly. The pest is very difficult to control, even using insecticides. Weevils can cause the loss of up to half the sweet potatoes produced and sometimes can lead to the loss of the entire crop, especially during dry seasons.

Senior Extension Officer in the Ministry of Agriculture, Owolabi Elabanjo, stated that local farmers are struggling to protect their sweet potato crops from the weevils that render their harvests unmarketable.

He said the insect is now rampant and the heat is not helping at all. "They are multiplying, especially because it is very hot. They multiply under the soil. So now we have to educate our farmers early next year on how to fight the problem.”

Elabanjo said the Ministry of Agriculture will import a pesticide to assist farmers: "Coming next year, we will start the programme and we are hoping to bring in as much [pesticide] as possible. Once we distribute it to our farmers, some of the damages people are seeing at the local market will be reduced.”

According to antiguaobserver.com, the eradication project is being funded by the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture.


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