Farmers in Mzimba are using herbal mixtures to deal with fall armyworms which have destroyed maize fields across the country.
Farmers in Emsizini, Traditional Authority (T/A) Kampingo-Sibande, are spraying their maize fields with Tephrosia Vogelii and Tephrosia Candida in the fight against the devastating pest attack.
On Saturday, Tiyeni Organisation organised a field day to monitor crop fields where farmers practise deep-bed farming.
During the visit, the farmers said Tephrosia is proving efficient in eliminating armyworms.
“Nobody has told us to use this herb. We are just experimenting and what we see is that it is working. The good thing is that Tephrosia also helps to enrich the soil with nutrients,” said one of the farmers Daliton Nyirongo.
Mzimba North assistant district agriculture development officer Pelina Phewa said her office has enough pesticides.
“The problem here is not as huge. The good news is we have the chemicals in place. But we will not stop farmers from using the herbs,” she said.
According to Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development spokesperson Osborne Tsoka, the pest has destroyed almost 270 000 hectares of maize, sorghum and millet.
The pest attack has coincided with prolonged dry spells which have affected 12 percent of maize fields in the country.
Tiyeni executive director Isaac Chavula said farmers were at liberty to explore ways of safeguarding their yield to prevent hunger.
“Farming is never easy, so farmers are looking for survival mechanisms in times of problems. Deep-bed farming is proving to be a success and they don’t want to lose their crop to pests,” he said. n