Government has revealed that it has spent close to K20 million since the outbreak of Army worms across the country.
ZANIS reports that Minister of Agriculture Dora Siliya says that almost 61 thousand litres of pesticide was used to curb the spread the pests thereby ensure food security in the country.
The army worm outbreak was first recorded in the copperbelt province where most maize fields were damaged before spreading to other provinces.
The Minister said this during a press briefing at the Ministry of Agriculture Headquarters in Lusaka today.
She said about 10 percent of the hectarage has been affected by Army worms across the country.
Ms Siliya explained that there is about 1.4 million hectares of maize under cultivation and about 124 thousand have been affected which is slightly under 10%.
She however expressed confidence that with the good rains expected this farming season, the country is assured of food security.
The Ministry’s response has been immediate and targeted hence been able to offer the right treatment, she said.
She added that te type of Army worm affecting crops is different and requires concise contact spraying unlike the one experienced four years ago,.
” Government will procure inputs such as the early maturing seed varieties to farmers whose fields were adversely affected by the Army worms, ” she said.
Ms. Siliya thanked the team in the ministry of Agriculture as well as other stakeholders involved in the mitigating response to the attack.
Speaking at the same event, Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU) National Coordinator Patrick Kangwa confirmed that the outbreak of the Army worms is being controlled and the situation is stable.
Mr. Kangwa said the Unit has been offering logistical and human resource support to the Ministry of Agriculture as well as from the Zambia Air Force, Zambia National Service other volunteers.
He said the ratio of the extension officers to the hectarage is quite huge as such some farmers require external support to spray their fields.
Mr. Kangwa noted that with the assistance received, about 95 thousand hectarage has been sprayed which indicates that the problem is being contained.
He said more farmers are aware of the outbreak and are able to report in good time for immediate response.