Government has said it is ready to deal with any threat of army worms if the outbreak which has hit neighbouring Zambia spreads to Malawi.
Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development George Chaponda told Weekend Nation yesterday that while he is yet to get a formal report on the threat the army worms pose to Malawi, he was confident that the country was ready to deal with it.
Said Chaponda: “You might recall that last time we had a locust’s outbreak in the Shire Valley we managed to contain it. My ministry is ready and we have a well coordinated mechanism to deal with such situations.”
The Zambian government on Thursday sent military planes to spray pesticides to the worst-affected areas, especially in northern provinces.
Army worms, which are caterpillar pests and feed on grass pastures and cereal crops, have invaded the Copperbelt, Luapula, Central, Eastern and Lusaka provinces of Zambia where they are damaging the maize crop, a staple both in Zambia and Malawi.
Some of the affected provinces border Malawi’s districts of Rumphi, Mzimba, Kasungu and Mchinji.
Any spill over of the army worms outbreak in Malawi poses a serious threat to food security as the country is still reeling from the food deficit emanating from floods and dry spells experienced during the 2015/2016 growing season. n