FILE PHOTO: A desert locust feeds on a plantation in a grazing land on the outskirt of Dusamareb in Galmudug region
By Jonisayi Maromo
THE national Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development has urged farmers to report locust swarms, especially in unoccupied farms.
South Africa has been experiencing a locust outbreak since September after the rains received from August in the Karoo region of the Eastern, Western Cape and Northern Cape.
“The department has appointed and trained locust control contractors in all areas which have experienced locust outbreak. All these contractors were provided with insecticide, spraying pumps and protective clothing to enable them to control the outbreak,” said Department of Agriculture spokesperson Reggie Ngcobo.
“The challenge towards our locust control campaign is unreported locust swarms in unoccupied farms, game and environmental parks. These unreported locust swarms go unnoticed and end up growing and becoming adults and fly to the crop and pasture land and cause extensive damage”.
Ngcobo said his department is appealing to all land or farm owners, especially those who are not staying on their properties to go and inspect for the presence of locusts, and to report them to the department or to their agricultural unions.
“The department is equally making an appeal to members of the public to assist in reporting these locust swarms, where they see them to their nearest office of the Department of Agriculture. We wish to applaud the commando system used to control locusts which is a working relationship between agricultural unions and the government,” he said.
South Africa has experienced the outbreak of locusts every 10 years, The last outbreak was around 2010.
“The department has, in the main, appointed farmers as locust control contractors as they are on the farms on a daily basis. The good working relationship between the farming community and the department is assisting a lot in the fight against these locust swarms,” said Ngcobo.
“As we enter the festive season, together with control contractors, we will continue to ensure that controlling of locust swarms gets our undivided attention. The locusts are now in a mixed stage, adults ones will follow the wind to move from one province to another.