|Chanda Kabwe (in blue) sprays a maize field in Kapiri Mposhi|
By Paul Shalala in Kapiri Mposhi
Over 20,000 hectares of maize has so far been destroyed by the fall army worms in Central Province since the first cases of the pests were reported in the region late last year.
Newly appointed Central Province Permanent Secretary Chanda Kabwe says the region has now become one of the hardest hit by the pests alongside the Copperbelt province.
Mr Kabwe says the deployment of Zambia National Service (ZNS) officers across the province has helped contain the fall army worms in most of the districts which are hard hit.
“So far, the situation looks under control. We have distributed over 10 thousand chemicals across Central Province since the fall army worms were first reported. We have another consignment coming this coming week, we are doing everything possible to fight these pests,” said Mr Kabwe when he toured some affected farms in Kapiri Mposhi’s Kambosha area on Friday.
The Central Province Permanent Secretary assured farmers in the province that government is doing everything possible to ensure that they have a good harvest at the end of the current farming season.
And Kapiri Mposhi District Commissioner Peter Mwiinde has revealed that about one thousand four hundred hectares of maize have so far been sprayed by the authorities.
Mr Mwiinde says the District is this weekend expected to receive more bottles of the chemicals to spray the remaining one thousand hectares.
“We received 700 litres of the chemicals to fight the army worms. So far we have sprayed 1,458 hectares but we are still remaining with 1,000 more hectares. Am confident we will spray them too and produce a bumper harvest this year,” said Mr Mwiinde.
Meanwhile, one of the hard hit farmers is Mary Zimba, whose three fields in Kambosha area along the Great North Road were attacked by the fall army worms late last year.
“When my fields were attacked, I had lost hope. I was worried that this year we will be in poverty. But with the free chemicals I received from the agricultural extension officers, my crop has been saved,” said Mrs Zimba.
A check in her three maize fields found her crop was growing well and had reached knee level.
Tomorrow, authorities in Kabwe, the provincial capital, will be deploying inmates to beef up the ZNS team which is fighting the army worms in the fields.
Due to security reasons, the prisoners are only expected to spray fields which are in the outskirts of Kabwe town.