N$2 million to fight locust outbreak

27 November 2020 | Agriculture

ELLANIE SMIT

WINDHOEK



The Environmental Investment Fund (EIF) has donated N$2 million for the combating of the African migratory red locust outbreak in Namibia, most of which will be used to buy pesticides.

The first locust outbreak was reported in February this year and affected nine of the ten crop-growing regions - Zambezi, Kavango East, Kavango West, Ohangwena, Oshikoto, Oshana, Omusati, Kunene and Otjozondjupa. “It is possible that during the first outbreak, the flyer locust has left a lot of eggs. As such, it is expected that any time when environmental conditions become conducive in these regions, more locust eggs will hatch and possibly cover all crop growing regions,” said agriculture executive director Percy Misika at the handover of the donation. He said a second outbreak was reported in the Zambezi Region in September, which has since spread to Kavango West and Kavango East.



Spraying campaign

The ministry has deployed spraying teams comprised of 35 trained staff members from different agricultural development centres. A total of 4 175 litres of pesticide has been used to contain the outbreak. The pesticides include Decis, Deltathrin, Servus, Cyperfos and Klorpirifos. “The teams continue spraying using mist blowers and vehicle-mounted sprayers to combat the outbreak,” Misika said.

The ministry has dispatched 14 vehicles, 14 mist blowers and four vehicle-mounted sprayers.

The defence ministry made an aeroplane available for aerial spraying, while the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations provided biological pesticide for aerial spraying.



Agriculture under pressure

Misika said the agriculture sector remains central to the lives of the majority of the Namibian population.

“The sector directly and indirectly supports over 70% of the country's population for sustenance, incomes and livelihoods. However, the sector is faced with many challenges, such as changing of climatic patterns, including low and erratic rainfall, poor soil fertility, and lack of well-adapted technologies as well as outbreaks of new pests and diseases.”

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