Armyworms have destroyed almost 10 000 hectares of maize in Karonga, district agricultural development officer Raphael Mkisi has said.
In an interview on Monday, he said 41 000 farmers in the shoreline district face hunger due to the pest attack.
The same day, Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Joseph Mwanamvekha told Parliament that 1.9 million families in the country are on the verge of a food crisis as fall armyworms and prolonged dry spells will cut the national maize yield by 280 000 metric tonnes.
Mkisi said the pest attack has receded from 20 000 hectares (ha) last year, thanks to distribution of pesticides by extension workers.
“Last year, fall armyworms attacked 81 percent of maize fields, but this year we are at 31 percent. This is a big difference,” he said
Stephano Mwanyungwi thanked government for timely distribution of pesticides, saying it salvaged his crop.
“Last year I had low yield due to armyworms. I tried to kill them on my own, but I did not manage. This year, we dealt with them,” he said.