174 000 hectares sprayed against locusts

Since the second wave of a locust outbreak in August 2020, Namibia has intensified aerial and ground spraying programmes to safeguard food security.

05 May 2021 | Agriculture

ELLANIE SMIT

WINDHOEK

Since Namibia experienced a second wave of a locust outbreak last year, more than 174 000 hectares have been sprayed to eliminate the pests.

According to a technical paper agriculture minister Calle Schlettwein handed in with his budget motivation recently, 1 015 953 hectares are also under surveillance and monitoring.

The country experienced the second wave in August 2020 in the Zambezi Region.

A third wave was reported in December 2020 in Zambezi, Kavango East, Kavango West, Ohangwena, Oshikoto, Oshana, Omusati, while locusts were also reported in Hardap and //Karas as of March 2021.

According to the paper, Namibia has identified three types of locusts - the African migratory locust (north east and central divisions), the African migratory red locust (Zambezi) and the brown locust in Hardap and //Karas.

Intensifying efforts

“Since the invasion of the locusts, which is affecting food and nutrition security, Namibia has embarked on combatting the outbreaks by intensifying both the aerial and ground spraying programmes and awareness creation to sensitise farmers and the public at large of the presence of the pests in the country.”

A total of N$20 million was availed by the Office of the Prime Minister for the procurements of 44 000 litres of synthetic pesticide and N$1 million was availed for aerial spraying.

Furthermore, a total of 150 personnel was capacitated on the ecology, biology, life cycle, safe handling of pesticides and management strategies of the locusts.

The ministry has also received massive support from agencies and developmental partners in the fight against the outbreaks.

“The passage of trade agreements has increased the flow of fruits, vegetables, and propagative plant materials across our borders, increasing Namibia’s susceptibility to plant pests and diseases. It is crucial to establish a structure that caters for basic and applied research as well as pest detection, identification, eradication, containment and risk.”

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