Zambia Calls in the Air Force to Combat Pests
Zambia has ordered the national Air Force into action to fight pests that have invaded maize crops and threatened vital food supplies. The Air Force is transporting pesticides across the country so that fields can be sprayed to combat infestations of armyworms, a type of moth larvae that can decimate crops.
“The Zambia Air Force has since begun to airlift chemicals,” President Edward Lungu’s spokesman said. “The president has directed that the chemicals that were purchased under emergency operations should be distributed to all parts of the country.”
Julius Shawa, permanent secretary of the Agriculture Ministry, told reporters that armyworms had damaged crops in four of the country’s 10 provinces — Central, Copperbelt, Luapula and Lusaka.
Lungu’s spokesman said the president was concerned that harvest volumes would be badly damaged “if the outbreak of the worms is not controlled speedily.” Lungu also deployed teams of Zambian Soldiers to help farmers spray the crops.
Maize — or corn — is a staple crop across much of Africa.