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State to distribute early- maturing maize

CATHERINE MUMBA, Lusaka
THE Ministry of Agriculture says Government will secure early-maturing maize seed for farmers whose crops have been destroyed by army worms.
Permanent secretary Julius Shawa told journalists in Lusaka yesterday that the seed will be distributed to the affected farmers next week.
“About two or three companies have already approached us saying they have early-maturing maize seed in stock, so we will move as quickly as possible to ensure that our farmers replant,” he said.
Mr Shawa said the ministry is working towards establishing the worst affected hectares of maize in various districts to provide the right quantity to the beneficiaries.
Mr Shawa said the Copperbelt Province has asked for an additional 2,000 litres of agricultural chemicals as it has remained the worst affected by the destructive pests.
He said the 580 litres given to the province has run out and that his ministry has sent another 1,000 litres to cater for all the districts.
“We haven’t received any reports of army worms in any other provinces apart from the already affected ones. Though we are being told the number of farmers asking for the chemical keeps on increasing on the Copperbelt,” said Mr Shawa.
Army worms have invaded some districts on the Copperbelt, Luapula, Central, Eastern and Lusaka provinces, where they are damaging the maize crop.
This week, President Lungu directed the ministry to distribute chemicals to all the affected regions and those that have not yet recorded any cases.

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