Locusts cause havoc in Kavango

The agriculture ministry is deploying spraying teams in the north-eastern regions to combat locust swarms that are devastating crops.

12 March 2021 | Disasters

KENYA KAMBOWE

MASHARE

Matheus Kasiki, a farmer at Mashare village in Kavango East, says a swarm of locusts destroyed his entire mahangu field last weekend.

Kasiki estimates that he lost 150 kg of grain to the insects.

“I was expecting to harvest five 50 kg bags of mahangu this year, but by the look of things I might just get two or three bags,” he says.

Kasiki says it took the locusts an hour to destroy his field before taking off.

Fear to reappear

Kasiki says they now live in fear that the locusts will return and finish what they have started.

“If the locusts do come back, we will see all our mahangu stalks on the ground,” he said.

He says the locusts only eat the leaves of the plants and not the ripening grains.

Ministry on outbreak

Responding to questions in parliament this week regarding locust swarms in several regions, deputy agriculture minister Anna Shiweda said the ministry was dealing with the matter.

“I can confirm that we are aware of the outbreak in the Kavango East Region. It is spreading to other regions such as Kavango West and part of Ohangwena,” Shiweda said.

“I can also confirm that the locusts are moving even in the area of Oshikoto. We are seized with this outbreak. Our spray teams are following these locusts. It’s a big challenge because they have moved to the adult stage; they are flying. When they are flying it becomes a problem to spray them.

“Our teams are in the regions and we received funds from the contingency fund and the office of the prime minister to buy chemicals and to spray.

“We got permission to recruit casual workers to assist with the spraying. We are also being assisted by the defence force; they have come in and they are being trained to use the chemicals and we are seized with this matter. This time around the locusts have increased in numbers. We should also train the individual farmers to spray,” she said.

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