A griculturalists and farmers in Karonga have appealed for pesticides to contain the spread of fall army worms ravaging crops in the area.
The armyworms have attacked crop fields in 20 out of 28 districts countrywide, forcing President Peter Mutharika to declare a state of disaster and appeal for external assistance.
Out of 3 972 hectares (ha) in Kaporo South extension planning area (EPA), fall armyworms have destroyed 2 117 hectares of maize fields.
“Kaporo and surrounding areas may be hit hard by hunger as fall armyworms have destroyed 53 percent of maize fields in the area,” agriculture extension development officer Madalitso Munthali told members of international non-governmental organisations consortium during a field tour on Friday.
The consortium, through Centre for Environmental Policy and Advocacy (Cepa) and Save the Children, is running a project to break the cycle of humanitarian assistance by enhancing resilience and communities’ capacity to respond to shocks.
Through the initiative funded by Department for International Development (DfID), Save the Children is supporting farmers to achieve food security.
“With 150 litres of cypermethrin from Save the Children, we have reached to 1 800 of 13 613 farming households affected by the pest. There is need for more pesticides to reach out to all farmers,” said Munthali.
Rhoda Sichali, a farmer in Traditional Authority (T/A) Kilupula, said pesticides will reduce the likelihood of a food crisis as Karonga has received good rains.
Cepa climate change programme officer Bernadette Zimba backed the call for timely interventions to help farmers achieve food security. n