Army worms in Copperbelt maize lands

The army worm invasion that hit the country a little more than a week ago has gained ground in 2 000ha of maize lands in the Copperbelt Province.

There is rising concern that further outbreaks could destroy a significant percentage of the Zambian maize crop.

The government has assisted about 300 families whose livelihoods have been affected by the army worm infestation.

Concerned by the development the president has issued directives to put measures in place to cushion families from the losses they have suffered.

Julius Shawa, the permanent secretary for agriculture, confirmed that nine districts, and hundreds of households had been affected. Army worms had invaded parts of the Central, Luapula, Eastern and Northern Provinces, he said.

The ministry had taken steps to contain the pests in infested areas, and was attempting to stop the spread of army worms to other provinces, Shawa said.

He told affected farmers that extension officers were operating in outbreak areas to help stop further destruction of the crop.

“We want to limit the damage; to ensure this, the provincial agriculture coordinating office is monitoring and managing the situation.”

“We are assessing the impact on the hundreds of households to determine what financial assistance they need,” said national co-ordinator Chanda Kabwe.

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