Shiwang’andu farmers send maize SOS
Shiwang`andu, November 24, 2014, ZANIS… Farmers in Nkulungwe ward have called on the government through the Food Reserve Agency to offload maize for sale in order to avert hunger which has hit the area.
Rachael Mwila a farmer said government or the business community must help the people in Nkulungwe ward by taking maize for sale to the area adding the people there will be more than willing to buy the commodity.
Ms. Mwila said that hunger has hit the area because farmers sold their produce to the FRA leaving insufficient stocks for home consumption coupled with insects that have attacked cassava fields resulting in low yields.
She stressed that people in the area were buying maize and mealie meal from nearby villages in Kasama.
Ms. Mwila however said that though she had been paid her monies together with other farmers most of it had been used to buy fertilizer and seed in readiness for the 2014/2015 farming season.
Ms. Mwila said this when the District Disaster and Management Committee (DDMC) visited some households to assess the extent of the hunger situation in the area.
And Agnes Bweupe has called on government to increase the fertilizer input packs from 240 to 280 to promote agriculture and support more farmers through cooperatives in the area.
Meanwhile, some youths in the area have complained over straying animals such as pigs.
Speaking on behalf of youths Lombe Bwalya said that due to straying pigs it was difficult for people to grow food such as vegetables, cassava and sweet potatoes in the villages.
And Shiwang`andu District Agriculture Coordinator (DACO) Seith Siwale said cassava fields had been attacked by insects called millibugs that can be controlled using a natural technique of releasing wasps to feed on them.
Mr. Siwale said the measure would only be taken after further observation.
Mr. Siwale also said that farmers would have reported the problem to the Agriculture Extension Officer so that measures are taken in time to avoid yields being affected.
The District Administrative Officer (DAO) Stephen Mulenga reiterated the importance of farmers leaving surplus maize stocks after selling to the FRA.
Mr. Mulenga said that the hunger situations could be avoided if farmers train themselves to leave surplus maize and also if they got involved in crop diversification.