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Thursday, 08 February 2018 14:04

Mzimba District to register bumper yield

Written by  Ed-Grant Ndoza
Good harvest expected in Mzimba Good harvest expected in Mzimba

Mzimba, February 8: The District Agriculture Development Office (DADO) in Mzimba South has declared that the district will, this year, realize bumper maize yield if the good rainfall pattern being experienced at the moment continues.

The declaration also comes in the wake of a successful fight against Fall Armyworms which have affected many parts of the country.

Crop Officer in the DADO’s office, Baird Nyondo, said there is good looking maize in almost all the 13 extension planning areas (EPAs) of the district, a clear recipe for another good maize harvest.

Nyondo said, like other districts, some parts of Mzimba were also hit by the Fall Armyworms.

He, however, said his office was on its toes and successfully contained the devastating pests to the extent that their sporadic invasion will make little or no mark on the expected maize yield.  

“We were well organized to fight the pests. The office had enough stocks of pesticides and the moment reports of attack of the worms reached our office, we hastily deployed staff to distribute chemicals to affected smallholder farmers,” Nyondo said.

On dry spells being experienced in some parts of the country, Nyondo said Mzimba South was yet to experience the predicament.

“Mzimba has not experienced worrying dry spells. In some parts of Mzimba, rains stop for only five days or up to a maximum of 10 days, which has little harm on maize,” explained the crop specialist.

A 39-year-old smallholder farmer, Ester Mfuni, from Bulala EPA concurred with Nyondo that most maize fields in the area are good looking, giving prospects of bumper yield, just like last year’s growing season.

“Although I applied fertilizer late as I was waiting for adequate rains, my maize is very attractive and I do not doubt to realize high yield if rains will not betray me,” said Mfuni, adding that she did not spot any Fall Armyworm in her garden.

Another smallholder famer from Kazomba EPA, Evlyn Nkhoma, shared similar sentiments.

She said despite  her area receiving slightly erratic rains right from the onset of the rainy season, she has good maize which promises bumper yield if the rains will not disappear prematurely.

Nkhoma added that in her EPA, very few farmers spotted the Fall Armyworms in their maize fields. The pests were quickly destroyed with chemicals from the DADO’s office.  

Last growing season, Mzimba District harvested a lot of maize with a lot of surplus grain offered for sale, a development that diluted the maize business.

Records at the DADO’s office show that in 2016/2017 agriculture season, the district maize production was at 124,876 metric tonnes, the production which was far above the district’s consumption requirement.

However, the figure may drop by slightest percentage in 2017/2018 agriculture season due to unstable rains and pest invasion in very isolated parts of the district.

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