Stalk borers ravage Mumbwa maize
By Malawo Malawo
MUMBWA Central UPND member of parliament Credo Nanjuwa says the government must seriously invest in agricultural research as a way of fighting crop diseases.
Nanjuwa said if crop diseases which break out year in, year out were to be eradicated, the the Ministry of Agriculture had an escapable duty to be hands-on in addressing farmers’ plight.
He said this when he toured various maize fields in his constituency to check on the crop damage caused by an outbreak of stalk borers.
“I have seen that what is destroying the maize here is not army worms but instead stalk borers. But what I must say here is that the right way to do things is to be pro-active [because] when you are reactive, you’ll have a situation like this where when you bring chemicals to fight crop diseases, you’ll find that the stage of the larvae is improved and the chemicals prove not to be effective. So, I think the government needs to be more pro-active and do some research on crop diseases,” Nanjuwa said.
The lawmaker, who was accompanied by Mumbwa district council chairperson Gracious Hamatala, also prodded councillors in the constituency to continue being alert to farmers’ problems and help them to report crop-related problems to relevant authorities in the district.
He proposed that farmers in the community be subjected to wide sensitisation as a way of containing the spread of the stalk borers in the constituency.
“Sensitisation is really required for the farmers so that they get to know how to protect their crops from this disease. We are here because we want to be proper advocates of farming sensitisation programmes because when we are involved as leaders, people tend to get the point easily than when they are dealing with agricultural officers,” said Nanjuwa.
And during the same tour, Nambala agriculture bloc officer Hector Mazuba said: “If there were organic matter here, the levels of crop attack would have not been so much. So, conservation agriculture is a policy issue which we have to continue talking about and ensure that farmers go that route.”