Esaiah Tjelele, the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) representative at the meeting said many regional countries lacked the technical capacity to properly assess the extent of the damage caused by the armyworm infestation.
“Pest identification services are also inadequate in some of the countries, hence delaying response action,” Tielele said.
Zimbabwe’s agriculture ministry says the area planted under maize during the current farming season increased by 61 percent, from 733 000 hectares previously.
Although the government has said it is too early to project output, expectations based on the planted area are that Zimbabwe could produce about 2 million tonnes, exceeding the 1.8 million tonne annual consumption requirements.
The southern African country produced 511 000 tonnes in the drought-hit 2015/16 farming season, resulting in grain imports which strained the government’s already measly financial resources.
Aid groups say as much as 4.1 million Zimbabweans, a third of the population, have requires donor food assistance over the past year.
The Harare meeting also discussed emerging trans-boundary livestock diseases such as Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) which threatens poultry production in the region.
The region resolved to urgently improve disease surveillance and set up early warning systems.-The Source