AN ARMY WORM attack in Central Province has affected fields for 11,799 farmers acting permanent secretary Felix Mang'wato has said.
Mr Mang'wato said in an interview yesterday that although the damage is not much compared to the previous farming season there is need for concerted efforts in combating the army worm.
Mr Mang'wato said farmers should report through their extension officers on any suspicions of army worm attack on their fields.
He said it would not be ideal for any farmer to wait for the army worm to cause havoc in the field for one to inform the relevant authorities.
Mr Mang'wato said there was need ensure food was secured at household level through application of preventive measures.
He, however, said farmers should not start spraying the maize field without any presence of the army worm as the chemical was only meant to destroy the existing ones and not those that had not yet been seen.
The hectarage of the affected maize fields is Chisamba 36, Chibombo 2492.5, Chitambo 39, Kabwe 85, Kapiri-Mposhi 1534.66 Mkushi three, Ngabwe five and in Itezhi-Tezhi 180 hectares.
Others are Luano 150 hectares while Mumbwa has 105 affected hectares with Serenje having 300 hectares.
Mr Mang'wato said Government would always ensure that farmers had their crop protected.
He called on farmers to embrace the habit of not only rushing to get farm inputs but rather get a bottle or two of chemicals to fight army worm in the process.
Mr Mang'wato said that due to unpredictability of the climate one would not tell what would happened next hence the provincial administration's move to monitor every situation through camp extension
'I now want to urge extension officers in the region not to relent but have routine inspection of maize fields to ensure the crop is not affected," he said.