Zambia has suspended the movement of maize in parts of its Northern and Eastern Provinces, where larger grain borers have broken out, said Minister of Agriculture Dora Siliya.
Siliya said treating and destroying infested grain is already underway as government stepped up measures to contain the spread of the disease.
“Corrective measures such as suspending the movement of maize in affected areas coupled by treating and destroying infected grain are already underway,” she told parliament on Monday.
Larger grain borers were first detected three weeks ago at holding depot in Northern Province’s Chilubi District. In the last week, the crop-destroying pests have surfaced in Luwingu in Northern Province, while further infestations have been reported in Chipata, Chadiza and Katete in Eastern Province.
STORAGE A PRIORITY
Lack of easy access to storage facilities has been a major source of post-harvest crop wastage.
Siliya underlined the significance of building modern warehouse facilities accessible by rural farmers by saying the maize mostly affected by the pests had not been properly stored.
She said materials to equip farmers to properly store the maize will soon be dispatched while government undertakes a national identification survey.
The outbreak of larger grain borers was consistent with expert predictions of Zambia’s vulnerability to crop pests as a result of climate change. According to experts, prevailing climatic conditions in Zambia were favourable for breeding crop pests.
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