RUNDU – Swarms of migratory locusts last weekend destroyed crop fields in Kavango East and West regions, leaving subsistence farmers in some areas of the regions in disarray and hopeless.
In Rundu Urban constituency, residents of Kaisosi on the eastern outskirts of the town were also affected by locusts feeding on their mahangu fields. The affected residents say they have been badly hit as they were expecting to reap what they had sown.
“Many crop fields were raided by locusts and I have recorded the number of the affected fields in case data is required,” said the headwoman of Kaisosi, Anselma Nehova, who told this publication that along with other elders of Kaisosi she visited some of the affected crop fields and the damage was clearly catastrophic.
“Many households were hoping for a good harvest but in the wake of these locusts they are deeply saddened,” she said.
Locusts also invaded several villages in Rundu Rural and Mashare constituencies in the two Kavango regions. In Kavango West, agriculture officials were reported to have sprayed some affected fields over the weekend at Ruuga village in Kapako constituency.
Speaking in the National Assembly on Tuesday, deputy agriculture minister Anna Shiweda said the ministry has secured funds from the Office of the Prime Minister to buy chemicals and spray affected areas. However, the challenge is the lack of staff to implement the exercise.
“We got permission to recruit casual workers to assist with the spraying and we are also being assisted by the NDF, they are being trained,” the deputy minister said.
The other challenge, Shiweda indicated, was that the locusts have increased in numbers and they have spread to various regions within Namibia.
“I can also confirm that a few of the locusts have also been seen in the south; this is a catastrophe, we will need assistance from all corners, what we are saying is that we should also train individual farmers to be able to spray their individual farms, and our officials are training some farmers,” she said.
“The locusts are migratory insects, they fly from everywhere – these specific ones are flying from Zambia, we know it.”