The Ministry of Agriculture in Monze district says a hailstorm has destroyed maize fields covering about 98.7 hectares of land.
The Ministry says the maize fields belong to about 88 farmers in Chiyobola area of Ufwenuka ward in Monze.
Monze District Agriculture Coordinator Justine Ngosa confirmed the development to ZANIS in Monze today that about 88 farmers have had their maize crops damaged during the storm which swept through the area at the weekend.
Mr. Ngosa explained that the affected villages include Chisumu, Sisayi and Nagandu all in ufwenuka ward.
“ I received a report of massive destruction to maize crops due to a hailstorm over the weekend in three villages in Ufwenuka ward and we are trying to do an assessment of the cost of the damage and see how best we can help these farmers,” said Mr. Ngosa.
Meanwhile, government has completed the distribution of all farming inputs under the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) for the 2014/2015 farming season in Monze District.
Both District Commissioner Biggie Mwiinde and District Agriculture Coordinator Justin Ngosa confirmed this in separate interviews with ZANIS today.
Mr. Ngosa said the District received a total of 54,854 by 50 kilogrammes of urea and 57,097 by 50 kilogrammes of basal dressing for the 2014/2015 farming season which have all been distributed to farmers.
Mr. Ngosa said a carryover of 586 bags by 50 kilogrammes of urea for 2013/2014 farming season was received last week from Nyiombo investment and would be distributed as soon as possible.
“ I can say that the distribution of farming inputs under the FISP has been completed and went on well and all we are yet to distribute is the carryover of 586 by 50 kilogramme for 2013/2014 farming season which Nyiombo Investment did not distribute in the previous farming season,” said Mr. Ngosa.
He, however said the biggest challengesin the distribution exercise was the inadequate storage facilities which he noted sometimes contributed to the delays in the delivering inputs to farmers on time.
Mr. Ngosa pointed out that there was need for more storage facilities in order to enhance the distribution of inputs.
“We have a situation where our storage facilities spaces here are limited taking only 7,000 bags at a time and this tends to contribute to delays in the distributions of inputs in the District,” Mr. Ngosa said.
Commenting on the crop assessment, Mr. Ngosa said the Ministry of Agriculture expects a reasonable maize harvest in the District despite the dry spell which affected the area in the past three weeks.
“We expect a reasonable maize harvest despite the dry spells in the past three weeks because rains have now resumed in most parts of the District,” he said.
And Mr. Mwiinde advised government to blacklist some companies that fail to deliver inputs to farmers on time as they were doing a disservice to the beneficiaries.