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Alba Iulia
Saturday, January 25, 2020

Chemicals meant for army worms on the Copperbelt have been stolen

General News Chemicals meant for army worms on the Copperbelt have been stolen

Army Worms attacking maize plant
Army Worms attacking maize plant
THREE boxes containing 30 liters of chemicals meant for spraying against army worms on the Copperbelt have been stolen, acting Agriculture Minister Michael Katambo has confirmed, describing the act as sabotage.

The consignment arrived in Ndola yesterday for onward distribution to the affected farmers.

Mr Katambo said the missing chemicals could have catered for around 60 hectares of land for at least 120 households, and called for the arrest of the culprits.

Copperbelt has received 5,195 liters of four different chemicals meant to kill the army worms, which have ravaged the crops in the province.

The minister said when he handed over the chemicals to Copperbelt Minister Bowman Lusambo it was unfortunate that people resorted to stealing chemicals meant for the farmers and that the situation happened on the Copperbelt, which was the most hit.

He said President Edgar Lungu was working tirelessly to ensure that there was eradication of the army worms and that the situation was sad.

“It is unfortunate that we have received a report of theft of three boxes of chemicals which would have helped to eradicate army worms. We want the chemicals to reach the intended farmers; we are spending sleepless nights to ensure that the chemicals reach our farmers. There is too much sabotaging in this project. This is a
calamity that is before us and we need the efforts from all stakeholders and not stealing,” he said.

Copperbelt Police Commissioner Charity Katanga said the driver who brought the consignment from Lusaka should make a formal report to the police.

Ms Katanga assured that police would investigate the matter and bring to book the culprits.

“Make a formal report of the theft and value and the batch number, we will zero in on the officers on duty and the driver of the truck and we will cast our net wider. For this one we are going to investigate and we will furnish you with all the information,” she said.

Ms Katanga suggested that once there was a consignment coming to the Copperbelt, police should be informed in order to deploy more officers to guard the property.

She said this would help the police to enforce and pay special attention to the property.

Mr Lusambo said such acts should not be tolerated in the province and that police should work hard and bring to book the culprits.

The Copperbelt has so far received more than 7,000 liters of chemicals to eradicate the army worms.

The province received 589 liters of the chemicals in the first consignment, 2,000 liters in the second batch and 5,195 in the third, bringing the total to 7,780 liters.

Provincial agriculture officer Obvious Kabinda said looking at the extent of the damage to crops, the chemicals received so far would go a long way in helping the farmers eliminate the pests.

Dr Kabinda was happy that what had been received so far was adequate and that the province was still conducting investigations.

He said the latest update on the extent of damage showed that about 15,093 hectares of land had been invaded, and the chemicals received would be adequate.

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  1. Where is the Ministry of Agriculture’s professionals capable of dealing with this outbreak? Why allow hapless politicians do a “man’s job”? When did the politicians become experts in dealing with agro chemical products? Why not allow the best suited and responsible entities in agriculture deal with this problem? How does Zambia ensure that these least qualified new handlers of agro chemicals are accountable in a field that they are not best suited for? Zambia is truly amazing if not insane!!

    • Honestly we have an entire minister commenting on three boxes, 30 litres, just enough to spread about 50 – 60ha. This a shame to have such leadership managing affairs of the people.

  2. We have hit the lowest point ever that the police have to guard such chemicals! My foot. When you politicise such an activity, then you are bound to be surrounded by cadres who will take advantage and steal the consignment. This has become a way of life unfortunately and the Minister should not talk of sabotage. The next thing we shall hear is that the “Opposition” has stolen the chemicals in order to frustrate the efforts of the “Mighty One” who is walking the talk. Fortunately it didn’t happen in the other part of the country. Dieu voit tout!

    • Police is right to guard those chemicals so that they don’t fall into wrong hands like HH and GBM. The Chemicals are a classified substance as POISON in concentrated and large quantity.

  3. This is what happens when you have an incompetent president and minister. That Lungu appointed Siliya as minister of agriculture. Her background is journalism! She doe not know anything about agriculture! What kind of president appoints a minister of agriculture who does not have any knowledge of agriculture. A useless president with no vision. Dr Austin Sichinga is an expert in agriculture. He has a PhD in agriculture. If the president had common sense he would have appointed him minister of agriculture.

  4. Iam one of the upcoming farmers in the CB. It is strange that even fertiliser inputs hasntt reacheddar us even after paying to cooperatives. Now we were first to discover the army worms and we haven’t received none and had to buy for ourselves. In all intent and purposes we don’t need government promises it just leaves us prone to too much expectations.

    Trouble we have is pf cadres are messing up everything….and the name of the party.

    And to be told chemicals have been stolen just makes me wonder in the first place whether the sysytem is capable of handling anything at all.

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