Zambian farmers already battling crop pests


By Davis Mulenga | 4 January 2018
swarm; pests
The red locust, Nomadacris septemfasciata. Picture: Wikimedia Commons - Christiaan Kooyman.

Farmers in Zambia are already battling a plethora of crop pests, including armyworm and red locusts, which resurfaced after wreaking havoc in the last farming season.

In the latest incident, red locusts have invaded maize fields in Mumbwa, Central Province. This, as armyworms were reported in the same area, and several other parts of Zambia.

“Farmers are now panicking to save their crop from being wiped out by the crop-eating grasshoppers,” said District Commissioner, Felix Ndopu.

Also read: Red locust swarm swells in Zambia

The re-emergence of red locusts and armyworm came in the wake of dire forecast for more outbreaks as climatic changes are conducive to their breeding.

Ndopu advised affected farmers to redeem pesticides using the government’s Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) funding.

Also read: Zambia’s smallholder farmers and the complexities of government support

“Those farmers whose fields have been invaded must use the activated e-voucher cards to buy chemicals and save their crop. Farmers with their own resources must also prioritise procurement of pesticides,” Ndopu said.

“It doesn’t look good. Already I’m seeing some of the damage to my crop,” said James Tembo, a small-scale maize farmer of Mumbwa.

Also read: New risk information centre to help Zambia combat crop pests