Interviews conducted in Lusaka revealed that prices for pesticides had gone up by as much as K30 with lambda boxer and belt high in demand.
“We are buying a liter of chemicals at K80, where we would normally pay K60,” said Given Munalula, a farmer of Shimbala in the Kafue district.
Ronald Chomba, a farmer from Lusaka west, said he paid K28 more for lambda boxer and belt, which normally sold at K105.
Chomba said the demand for chemicals increased, because of delays in government’s distribution of free pesticides to farmers.
“The dilemma is that you might lose the crop you have. So we are forced to dip into our own pockets,” Chomba said.
Many people also visited pharmacies in Lusaka’s central business district (CBD), looking for pesticides, but retailers refused to go on record about any price increases.
About 172 000 ha of an estimated 1,4 million ha planted under maize had been affected by army worms in all 10 provinces. Government, however, insists the situation is under control.
The distribution of early maturing seed, as well as spraying in affected areas, was among government’s interventions to ensure Zambia’s food security.
Government is also coordinating efforts with neighbouring Malawi and Zimbabwe to monitor outbreaks.