Govt probing theft of army worms, stalk  borer chemicals-Siliya

Fri, 24 Feb 2017 10:29:09 +0000




GOVERNMENT is still investigating a scandal in which 30 litres of the chemicals procured to eradicate the Army Worms and stalk borers were stolen on the Copperbelt, Agriculture Minister Dora Siliya has told Parliament.

Ms Siliya said investigations were currently active and that those found wanting would be held accountable because Government spent colossal sums of money to procure the chemicals.

She has warned that once investigations were concluded, those found wanting would be dealt accordingly.

Ms Siliya was responding to Roan Patriotic Front (PF) Member of Parliament Chishimba Kambwili who wanted to find what had happened to the stolen armyworm chemicals on the Copperbelt in Ndola.

Earlier, Ms Siliya informed Parliament that the Army worm pest which recently attacked the maize crop in some parts of Zambia had been contained although not fully eradicated.

Ms Siliya said in a ministerial that a total of 234, 147 farmers and with 191, 930 hectares of land had been affected by the outbreak of the Army worm in Zambia.

She said Government would continue with surveillance programmes up to the harvest time.

“Farmers are urged to continue scouting their fields for the pest and spraying until after harvest as the worms may attack maize cobs,” Ms Siliya said.

The minister said Government procured 101,804 litres of various chemicals worth K18 million for the control of the pest which were distributed to the affected farmers.

Ms Siliya said Government provided an additional K3 million for the purchase of work suits, gum boots, sprayers, respirators and for operational funds for all the 10 provinces.

Ms Siliya said her ministry worked in collaboration with the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU), Zambia National Service (ZNS), Zambia Air Force (ZAF) and the Zambia Correctional Service (ZCS) in the fight against the Fall Army worms.

Meanwhile, Ms Siliya clarified that her ministry did not operate on hearsay but well researched data.

She was responding to Mwembeshi Independent Member of Parliament Machila Jamba who wanted to find out what measures the ministry had put in place to ensure that there was no reoccurrence of pests’ attacks.

“We have a strong research team and scientists at Zambia Agriculture Research Institute (ZARI). At first we mistook the Army worm for the ordinary worm until after research in collaboration with the University of California,” Ms Siliya said.

On the Red locusts, Ms Siliya said Government released K4.7 million out of the required K10 million for the control of the pest.



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