Air force strikes stubborn Zambezi locusts

Over 4 000 square kilometres has been invaded and 500 hectares of grazing land destroyed by locusts in the Zambezi Region, said agriculture minister Calle Schlettwein.

13 October 2020 | Agriculture

NAMPA

KATIMA MULILO



The Namibian Air Force on Sunday started an aerial spraying campaign in the Zambezi Region to help combat a locust infestation.

The air force is teaming up with the ministry of agriculture, water and land reform for one month to help contain the locust swarms.

The agriculture ministry's chief agricultural scientific officer, Violet Simataa, confirmed that the air force conducted its first aerial spraying exercise in the Itomba area in conjunction with the ministry, which on its part employed a mounted vehicle and mist blower to apply pesticide.

Pesticides including cyperfos were sprayed over 10 hectares.



Devastating

Locust sightings were first reported in August in areas like Itomba, Lusese, Nakabalelwa, Ngala, Mahundu, Machita, Masikili and Kapani.

Agriculture minister Calle Schlettwein said in the National Assembly on 24 September that 4 002 square kilometres had been invaded and 500 hectares of grazing land destroyed by locusts in the Zambezi Region.

He said a spraying team trained in methods to combat outbreaks had been deployed and six vehicles, 14 mist blowers and four vehicles mounted with sprayers were being used to combat the outbreak.

Schlettwein noted that neighbouring countries affected by the outbreak such as Botswana and Zambia use aerial spraying and suggested that Namibia employ the same method to contain the outbreak.

One of the affected community members, 84-year-old Greenwell Mayumbelo, on Sunday said the aerial spraying would be of great help because it was difficult for vehicles to reach some of the affected areas.

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