Army worm outbreak has been reported in some areas of Zomba mainly under Mpokwa Extension Planning Area (EPA).
According to Patterson Kandoje, District Agriculture Development Officer the outbreak has occurred in Mpokwa EPA, in TA Mwambo in the villages of Saiti, Masambuka, Kwaitana, Mamphanda, Kabwere, Kumpatsa, Havala, Mlomwa and Chaima.
Kandoje told the Malawi News Agency, 34 hectares (ha) of land have been reported to be affected by the armyworms adding maize is mainly affected by the caterpillars.
He said his office has managed to spray only 6 ha with cypermethrin saying the spraying exercise is still continuing to control the spread to other areas.
Kandoje further asked farmers to report to the nearest agriculture office or agriculture extension officers if they see beautiful caterpillars destroying their maize.
“They are dark green with whitish stripes on their backs and they move in colonies. They only eat maize and grass which is in the same family with maize. These will continue if not controlled as long as the dry spells continue,” Kandoje warned.
He also pointed out that some village headmen were refusing the chemical spraying exercise saying they can control the outbreak by traditional methods which he says will lead to greater losses.
Zomba district is facing several challenges such as the dry spell that has posed a threat to the crops, strong wind that swept roofs of houses in many areas, cholera outbreak at Kachulu and the armyworms.