Wednesday, 21 December 2016

300 Hectares Of Maize Destroyed By Army Worms In Kitwe

Army Worms on a maize stock
By Paul Shalala

Over 300 hectares of maize have so far been destroyed by the infamous army worms which have invaded Kitwe in the past three weeks.

Kitwe District Agricultural Coordinator Dr. Raphael Muyaule says the outbreak has left over 150 farmers affected, threatening this year’s harvest.

Dr. Muyaule says the damage caused by the army worms is worrying.

“We are very worried by the damage these army worms are causing. All parts of Kitwe are now affected and from our assessment, most maize fields have suffered more than 40 percent damage,” said Dr. Muyaule.

He said this in an interview today in Minsaka area where he accompanied Kitwe District Commissioner Chanda Kabwe who donated chemicals to farmers affected by the army worms.

And Mr Chanda urged the farmers to ensure they utilise the chemicals well and reduce the impact of the invasion.

“Spray the chemicals when you are sure it will not rain that day because once it rains, the chemicals will be washed away,” said Mr Chanda.

In Minsaka area, several farmers have lost their maize to the army worms.

Some of the affected farmers are worried that the creatures will reduce their harvest next year.

Alick Nguni who has lost his five hectare field of maize to the army worms says he hopes government can help him survive next year.

Other farmers are also crying foul.

Agriculture officers preparing chemicals
“I had a good harvest last year and bought a canter for myself. But now am worried because these army worms have destroyed my crop,” said Namakando Liwanga.

Government has bought cyclone and nimbecidine chemicals which it is distributing to the affected farmers.

So far, farmers in Minsaka and Luongo areas of Kitwe have received their chemicals today.

Officers from the Ministry of Agriculture have since been dispatched to various parts of the city to sensitise farmers on how to mix the chemicals and spray it on the affected maize.

Army worms, whose scientific names are spodoptera exempta, are making their second appearance in Zambia in three years.

During their first invasion in 2013, the creatures destroyed crops countrywide.

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