Zambia expects new armyworm threat

by Sunday News Online | Sunday, Oct 8, 2017 | 975 views

armyworm

Lusaka — Zambian authorities expect a new armyworm outbreak in the coming crop season after the maize-eating pests ravaged southern Africa early this year, says a report.

The southern African country said that it expected the outbreak across the country from October to March, reported Reuters.

In a statement this week, Communications and Transport Minister Brian Mushimba, who is in charge of the department of meteorology, said that the department was working in partnership with the agricultural ministry to ensure that the pests were fought.

He added: “Zambia would experience normal to above normal rainfall in the 2017/2018 crop season with flash floods in some areas.”

The land-locked African country was among a number of regional countries that were hit by the armyworm outbreak during the 2016/2017 season.

The armyworms nearly wiped out crop production in the region, but Zambia managed to reap 3.6 million tons of maize, up from 2.8 million the previous year, after it deployed its national air force to transport pesticides across the country so that fields could be sprayed.

The outbreak followed a crippling El Nino-triggered drought which scorched much of the region last year, hitting crop production and leaving millions in need of food aid.

The countries with confirmed cases of the armyworm outbreak faced import bans on agricultural products because the armyworm is classified as a quarantine pest.

The pest can also cause extensive damage to crops and has a preference for maize, the regional staple. — News 24

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