Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry executive director Percy Misika on Friday confirmed the presence migratory locusts in Ibbu, Muyako and Ihaha in the Zambezi region.
“The spraying team, based at Bukalo Agricultural Development Centre, visited the areas and confirmed the presence of the locusts in the grazing areas of the flood plain along the Chobe River,” Misika said, adding the locusts are reported to have migrated from Botswana.
He said Namibia is the second country in the region to report the prevalence of migratory pests after its neighbour Botswana.
Migratory locusts, commonly known as the African migratory locusts, occurs in most of Africa, south of the Sahara Desert, but its main breeding ground and the original source of most plagues are on the floodplains of the Niger River in West Africa.
Misika said these insects are usually solitary but under certain circumstances, they became more abundant instead of changing their behaviour and habits.
“Under suitable conditions of drought, followed by rapid vegetation growth, they breed abundantly and become nomadic and their population increases at a fast pace,” he explained.
“They form bands of wingless nymphs, which later become swarms of winged adults,” he added.
He said both bands and swarms move around and rapidly strip fields and cause damage to crop and pastures.
“Adults are powerful fliers; they can travel long distances – up to 150 kilometres a day, consuming most of the green vegetation wherever the swarm settles,” he said.
Misika says the ministry has intensified awareness campaigns through the local services to educate the farmers on the presence of the pest and on control measures that are being applied to contain the pest.
“Farmers and the general public are urged to be alert and report any presence of swamps to the nearest ministry’s offices countrywide,” Misika concluded.
Meanwhile, according to international media, Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya have been hit by the worst outbreak of desert locusts in decades. Thousands of hectares of farmland have been ravaged, threatening the lives and livelihoods of millions of people already struggling with food insecurity. With the favourable weather conditions, the swarms are now heading to Uganda and South Sudan.