BY JOHN CHOLA
Government in Lufwanyama district has bemoaned the devastation caused to crops by army worms which have affected three quarters of farm fields in the area leaving 90 per cent of farmers badly hit.
More than 6500 households could be at risk of losing their crop and on the average 3000 hectors of maize is under attack by army worms.
Meanwhile, government and the traditional leadership in Lufwanyama are elated by Grizzly Mining Limited’s gesture once again to be the first cooperating partner to move in and help fight the deadly army worms in the district.
Lufwanyama District Commissioner Justine Mwalikwa said government was grateful to Grizzly Mining Limited (GML) for consistently exhibiting concern about household and national food security.
On Tuesday, January 25, GML presented pesticides to the Lufwanyama district administration.
Mwalikwa noted that Lufwanyama was a rural district whose agriculture is the mainstay of its economy but army worms had continued affecting production every farming season.
“The gesture by Grizzly Mine in supplementing government efforts to secure the crop will go a long away in alleviating poverty among the people of the district and beyond. We are talking about 35 farming camps being affected out of 39 of the district. The chemicals you have donated will go a long way in combating this deadly problem devastating maize fields and threatens to cause food insecurity in the country if left unchecked,” Mwalikwa said.
The DC implored Lufwanyama District Agricultural Coordinator (DACO) Sekanayo Ng’ambi to ensure that the pesticides were distributed to all affected farmers under the six chiefdoms.
“The New Dawn government will not tolerate any officer in Ministries frustrating government efforts. I further urge you to give farmers extension advice on the proper and safe use of the donated chemicals,” Mwalikwa said.
Meanwhile, Grizzly Mine Manager Langson Mukuma said the donation signified the company’s commitment to its corporate social responsibility (CSR) programme aimed at ploughing back profits into the community were the mine carried its business.
Mukuma said his organisation was aware that the maize crop was not only a staple food but a source of income for many households especially small scale farmers.
“The invasion and destruction of maize plant do not only pauses a serious threat to household and national food security but also the livelihood of farmers. We are donating pesticides worthy K260, 000 representing 600 litters of pesticide,” said Mukuma.
He said GML support to the agriculture sector always focused on efficient and effective public private partnership, to facilitate farmers’ access to the delivery of army worms pesticides.
He assured government and the six chiefs represented by Chiefteness Shimukunami of his company’s endeavour to work with them and the community at large to provide support in every area of need such as fighting poverty and improving food security.
“We will partner with the government of Zambia in all areas that makes it possible to uplift the living standards of the people as demonstrated today with this gesture,” Mukuma said.
GML has been complementing government in similar manner since 2016 when the first army worms broke out.
Farmers thanked government and the traditional leadership for accommodating Grizzly Mining in the district.
Speaking on behalf of the farming community, one of the affected farmers, Nelson Mumba, said without the support by Grizzly Mine in the fight against army worms over the years, Lufwanyama would have experienced hunger.
Mumba appealed to GML to continue with community impacting CSR programmes especially support towards farmers.