Locust swarms ravage crops in Zambezi Region

Niël Terblanché

Swarms of red locusts have inflicted extensive damage on crops and vegetation in the Zambezi Region, specifically within the Lake Liambezi and Old Masokotwani areas.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform has sounded the alarm over the crisis, revealing that these devastating swarms have also been detected in flood zones along the Zambezi River as well as places in the Ohangwena Region.

Ndiyakupi Nghituwamata, the Executive Director of the ministry, announced the immediate deployment of extermination teams to the affected zones.

She said these teams are tasked with conducting intensive surveillance and commencing ground spraying efforts to mitigate the spread of the locust swarms.

Nghituwamata reiterated the ministry’s commitment to continuous assessment and intervention to combat the threat posed by locust swarms.

The locusts, currently observed in both hopper and flying stages, were first reported at the end of February this year.

The ministry has issued a call to action for farmers in the region and urged them to remain vigilant and report any sightings of locust swarms to their nearest Agricultural Development Centres (ADC) and Constituency offices.

Farmers were also encouraged to cooperate with the ministry’s officials during the extermination campaign to ensure the effectiveness of the spraying efforts.

The impacted areas span a wide region, including Kapani, Old Masokotwani, Kanono, Linyanti, Nakabolelwa, Masikili, Ngoma, Isuswa, Ioma, Mutikitila, Ibbu, Mahundu, Ngala, ChinChimani, Singobeka, Maunga, Sangwali, and Oshikunde village.

According to Nghituwamata, the ministry’s proactive stance and swift response are aimed at curbing the further spread of the locusts to preserve the livelihoods of the affected communities and prevent a larger-scale agricultural disaster.

She said that, if left unattended, the situation can reach crisis levels that will eventually pose a significant threat to food security in the region, as red locusts are known for their ability to destroy large swathes of crops and natural vegetation rapidly.

She added that the ministry’s efforts to contain and eliminate the locust swarms are critical in safeguarding the agricultural output and ensuring the well-being of farmers and residents in the Zambezi and other regions.

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