farming season

Zambia earmarks K2m to fight armyworm during 2017/2018 farming season

Government will spend K2million to implement proactive measures to fight fall armyworm in the next farming season, says Zambian Agriculture Minister Dora Siliya.

Experts predict the fall armyworm outbreak that first emerged in southern Africa during the last farming season, will continue to wreak havoc in the new season. “This is to bolster our readiness for the recurrence of the crop pests during the next farming season,” Siliya said.

Last year, close to 130 000 ha maize was affected by the severe outbreak of fall armyworm. It also damaged cereals, including sorghum, millet and wheat. Despite the attack, Zambia – like many other countries in southern Africa – recorded a bumper harvest.

Government’s initial efforts to control the outbreak caused concern about the country’s readiness to combat the pest. Since then, Zambia alongside its eight neighbours in the southern African Development Community (SADC), resolved to implement vigilant, region-wide monitoring measures.

Other measures include the implementation of a climate information sharing platform to provide reliable, accessible, and timely information to communities. Recently, parts of Central Province – with two planting seasons – saw outbreaks of fall armyworm, causing worry over a recurrence of the pest in the next coming season.

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