FAO helps Govt fight locust outbreak

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THE United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) is assisting the government to fight the African migratory and red locusts that have invaded various parts of the Zambezi region.

In a statement released last week, FAO Namibia’s communications associate, Phillipus Tobias, said they have stepped in to help the government deploy more spraying teams and by making available more bio-pesticides as well as strengthening the government’s surveillance and monitoring systems.

At the moment, agricultural extension officers are battling the spread of locusts, following reports of a second wave of swarms in Zambezi and surrounding regions since June 2020.

According to Tobias, the dense locust swarms are mostly in the flood-prone areas of Kabbe North and South as well as Katima Rural, and are destroying pastures and could threaten crops during the upcoming summer planting season.

The teams deployed to spray the locusts consist of around 410 extension officers from different regions of the country.

One of these teams recently undertook a spraying mission to Sanzo and Kasaya cattle posts near the Zambezi River in the Kabbe South constituency.

Kasaya area is heavily affected by swarms of locusts that can easily be seen from a distance and the team deployed there used a vehicle-mounted sprayer to cover three to five hectares in about 10 minutes. Agricultural extension officer at Kongola in Zambezi region Dorthea Shiimi said she believes that the use of an environmentally friendly pesticide is the best option to eradicate the locusts.

Gift Kamupingene, FAO Namibia national project coordinator said the main challenge the government faces in controlling the outbreak is the lack of manpower, but he expressed optimism that the fight will be won.

He said FAO Namibia will continue complementing government efforts to bring the situation under control and will strengthen capacities at both national and local levels for better preparedness in future.

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