|Agricultural officers checking the worms|
By Paul Shalala
Army Worms have resurfaced in Kitwe and destroyed maize in much of Kamfinsa area.
The worms have so far attacked and eaten maize in five farms.
These little creatures have wrecked havoc in the area and farmers are crying.
Moving from one field to the other in their thousands, these creatures are leaving a trail of destruction.
Kitwe District Agriculture Coordinator Dr. Raphael Muyaule says the outbreak is not very widespread and should not alarm the farmers.
"We have sent officers on the ground and i can tell you that the army worms have not invaded the whole of Kitwe but a few areas. They are actually in the early stages of their invasion," said Dr. Muyaule.
He says the worms are hatched from eggs laid by moths and the larvae grows into the destructive army worms.
"Because of the short dry spell we had, the eggs have hatched and the army worms have been born. But we are lucky because the rains are falling and this reduces the spread of these creatures."
Dr. Muyaule has further advised farmers across Kitwe to report any suspicious looking creatures in their fields to the nearest agriculture office.
And the farmers who have been hit hard by the army worms are crying.
"I live in the Police camp and i have a farm in this area. For the past one week, these army worms have destroyed our crops. Am appealing to government to help us with chemicals to kill them," said Aliness Mwanza.
Other farmers are already predicting a poor harvest due to the army worms.
Last year we had bad rains and we did not harvest well. This year we thought we were free but these creatures may just wipe out our crop and leave us in poverty," said John Ngambi, another farmer who has lost his crop to the army worms.
The army worms have also been spotted in the neighbouring districts of Luanshya and Ndola.
Zambia first experienced the destrution caused by army worms in 2013.
In that year, the army worms destroyed maize fields in various parts of the country.
The creatures were spotted in all the 10 provinces and caused irreparable damage to the country's staple food.
According to Wikipedia, the African Army Worm, whose scientific name is Spodoptera Exempta, is capable of wiping out grasslands and fields in a matter of weeks.
It adds that the army worm is a moth which increase in numbers during a dry spell.