Over 33 hectares of maize fields in Monze district have been infested with armyworms and stalk borers raising grave fears of massive crop losses among farmers in the area.
And Monze District Agriculture Coordinator (DACO) Justine Ngosa has advised farmers to practice good farming methods to prevent the perennial outbreaks of the pests and ensure sustainable food security.
In an interview with ZANIS today, Mr. Ngosa said samples from the five farming blocks in the district show serious infestations of the pests at five per cent.
He said the armyworms were spreading at a fast rate hence the need for quick intervention.
He disclosed that of the five farming blocks sampled, Monze east and north-west were are the heavily invaded areas.
Mr. Ngosa has since appealed to government to intervene as soon as possible and prevent crop losses which might threaten food security at district and national levels.
“We appeal to government to move in quickly to help farmers with the necessary pesticides and equipment such as sprayers to control the spread of these pests and help sustain food security,” he said.
Mr. Ngosa also advised farmers in the district to use whatever resources at their disposal to buy recommended chemicals such as ampligo, denim fit, oxy-M, looperkill and devacarb to kill the pests.
And Mr. Ngosa said farmers need to embrace new farming technologies such as inter-cropping and crop rotation to prevent army worm attacks which he said has become a recurrent problem.
The District Agriculture Coordinator, who also blamed the perennial outbreaks of army worms on climate change, said farmers can do their part by practicing inter-cropping which potentially limits the spread of army worms.
“ While climate change is largely to blame for this perennial outbreaks of armyworms and other menacing pests, our farmers also need to change their farming methods and embrace intercropping and crop rotation to limit the spread of armyworms and other pests,” said Mr. Ngosa.
During the 2017/2018 farming season, Monze district was hit by partial drought which resulted in low maize yields hence the district is currently experiencing hunger in all the three constituencies.