Agri-business Business

Groundnut disease aphids break out in Petauke

ESTHER MSETEKA, Lusaka
PESTS known as aphids, which suck groundnut plants, have broken out in Petauke causing panic among farmers in the area.
Aphids, also known as plant lice, are soft-bodied insects that use their piercing sucking mouth-parts to feed on plant sap.
According to information contained in a Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU) weekly brief, the Ministry of Agriculture, through the office of the district agriculture office, has conducted field visitations in the affected areas to ascertain the extent of damage caused by the pests.
The union says the findings have so far shown that infestation of aphids is high and that Government has since alerted farmers to be on the look-out for the pests and ensure that they report cases to the agriculture camp extension officers in the district.
“Farmers have also been advised to spray their fields with pesticides whenever symptoms are seen before the crop is completely lost through the groundnut rosette virus, which is spread by the aphids,” ZNFU says.
Meanwhile, farmers in Mumbwa district are concerned with increased cattle thefts in the area.
So far, over 50 cattle have been reported stolen from big concession in Kabwanga, Kang’omba and Sempe areas from December last year to date.
To this effect, farmers have called on Government to construct a police post at the abattoir as a preventive measure to deter those who are in the habit of slaughtering stolen animals.
“Farmers have attributed the level of cattle thefts to the ease with which police permits are given to people slaughtering cattle without inspecting the animals,” the union says.

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