Ministry of Agriculture Irrigation and Water Department (MoAIWD) says Salima posted a 24 000 metric tonnes increase in maize production despite experiencing floods and an outbreak of fall armyworms.
Speaking during a media briefing last week, Salima Agriculture Development Division (ADD) acting programme manager Richard Mgomezulu said despite fall armyworms wiping out 6 000 hectares of maize, the district harvested enough to meet its food requirement.
“We have harvested over 145 000 metric tonnes of maize this year compared to 121 000 metric tonnes last year,” he said.
Mgomezulu also said the average maize production for Salima per year has been 142 000 metric tonnes over the past five years.
Mawale Solar Powered Irrigation Scheme chairperson Martin Nkhoma said maize under winter cropping is the worst affected by fall armyworms such that most farmers are just uprooting the crop.
Salima ADD principal agriculture officer Martin Nuka said they distributed 400 litres of cypermethrine liquid pesticides for free in Nkhotakota and 300 litres in Salima to control the spread of fall armyworms.
“We feel the problem of fall armyworms will be much more severe under irrigated maize production than it was on rain-fed agriculture and we advise farmers to spray cypermethrine just after the crop has emerged using targeted spraying,” he said.
Nuka said although the ADD had 6 000 hectares of rain-fed maize devastated by fall armyworms, total harvest improved. n