William Chilufya with Vice President Inonge Wina and Justice Minister Given Lubinda
William Chilufya with Vice President Inonge Wina and Justice Minister Given Lubinda

Nutrition development advocate William Chilufya says the recent an army worm outbreak should propel the country to start diversifying its agriculture production.

Mr Chilufya who is also the Southern Africa manager of the Sustainable Diets for All Projects at Hivos Southern Africa said the infestation should encourage a policy shift away from mono-cropping maize.

Zambia’s primary staple crop Maize was recently under attack from fall army worms.

The fall army worm is a migratory pest that rapidly moves through fields eating young plant stems at lightning speed, leaving devastation in their wake.

It is estimated that 10 per cent of Zambian farms in six provinces have already been affected.

Maize dominates agricultural production in Zambia and neighbouring countries, in spite of its limited nutritional value.

Other staple crops, such as millet, are far more nutritious, drought tolerant and less susceptible to pest outbreaks.

Yet more than 90 per cent of smallholders rely on maize for income and food calories.

It is feared that pest invasion could cause farmers in affected areas to lose 30 to 40 per cent of their crops.

Since 2007, the Zambian government has spent an average of 80 per cent of its agricultural budget supporting the production of maize.

And Mr Chilufya said the latest attack on the maize crop by army worms therefore highlights the need for Zambia to diversify its crop production.

He said greater diversity of foods on the farm and on the plate is something that is also urgently needed to combat hunger and fight malnutrition in the country.

Mr Chilufya said Maize mono cropping is diminishing the variety of foods in the fields and in people’s diets.

“Zambia has one of the highest levels of stunting in Africa, with one of the causes diets that are heavily reliant on maize. If there is a role that crop diversification can play in halting the advance of future army worm attacks, it is worthy of national debate,” Mr Chilufya said.

He added, “Despite being a much loved crop in Zambia and neighbouring countries, it is high time to ask whether maize is proving too costly at a production and dietary level.

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4 COMMENTS

  1. Some of these organisations serve absolutely no purpose at all except to enrich their directors pockets! President Trump please stop funding these cretins! What have they done to improve the status quo on food production in the country? All they do is yap like puppies so that their liberal and political correct funders can continue dishing out money into their endless pit! What are they telling us that we don’t know yet? They talk about warning systems and diversification are they not also funded? Why couldn’t they warn us of this army worm threat and also use some of their funds to help with diversification?Very dull chaps! Truth be told this is entirely about seed companies wanting us to start using pest resistant GMO maize varieties! But they are too daft to see the writing on the…

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  2. 2020 Vision – really looks like a lost vision. Too bad your views re narrow… Going by you people must stop providing view points and encouraging change – bwafya sana!

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