ARMY worms have affected five provinces and farmers in other areas have been advised to take precautionary measures against the ravaging pests.
Agriculture and Livestock Minister Emmanuel Chenda assured farmers yesterday that spraying was progressing well in Central, Lusaka, Eastern, Muchinga and Southern provinces where the worms have been detected.
The minister said the Government was working with the International Red Locust Organisation to contain the outbreak.
Other measures include the placing of experts to monitor the spraying process, while the Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU) and National Agriculture and Information Services were sensitising farmers on the outbreak.
The chemicals recommended are cypermethrin, malathion, fenvelate, denithrothion, diazon and dursban 4E.
"Farmers who may not have the chemicals should approach the district agricultural coordinator (DACO)'s office for free spraying," Mr Chenda said.
The army worm is hairless with a shiny black colour on the back, light stripes on the side, and a greenish yellow below or underside.
Mr Chenda advised farmers who come across any pests in their fields to contact agricultural extension officers.
The worms were detected last week in Chisamba, Chibombo, and Chongwe districts but further assessment indicated that they had spread to other parts of the country.
On Wednesday, they were discovered in Ndola in Misundu area where the spraying exercise was instituted, while yesterday the pests spread to Masaiti District, af fecting 300 farms in the area.
Masaiti DACO Bvunzayo Rutsito and Chieftainess Malembeka confirmed the invasion of the army worms in separate interviews.