Economy

Army Worms Threaten Food Security in Zambia

Food security in Zambia is under threat following expectation of a low harves from the 2012/13 farming season after army worms invaded maize fields in some parts of the country.

The country has, despite a bumper harvest, already recorded shortages in maize meal leading to the sky-rocketing of prizes of the commodity which is the staple food.

PF minister for agriculture Emmanuel Chenda says the outbreak of army worms in some parts of the country is a disaster.

Chenda said there are devastating reports that the army worms have eaten up all the maize farmers planted under the 2012/2013 farming season.

According to the Zambia Daily Mail, Chenda made an on-the-spot check on some maize fields in Chongwe.

He said the PF government is concerned that if the outbreak persists, it will result in food insecurity. Chenda, however, said the ministry has dispatched officers to spray the affected areas.

Chenda said Government would also help farmers with chemicals, but could not guarantee that the authorities would give the farmers some seeds to replant.

He said the army worms have broken out in Chongwe, Chisamba, Sinazongwe and some parts of Mpongwe.

Chenda also advised farmers to start digging holes of about 30 centimetres deep around their maize fields to protect them.

“We have received very devastating reports that the army worms have broken out in four districts. We are working with the International Red Locust Organisation, which is helping us to address this situation, but I want to assure the farmers that Government will assist them with chemicals,” he said.

Chenda said it is sad that some farms in some affected areas have completely been attacked by the worms.

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