ONGWEDIVA - Communities in locust-infested areas are advised not to inhale the pesticide during spraying operations.
“The pesticide is harmful to animals and humans. Thus, the ministry is advising farmers to avoid inhaling the pesticides during the spraying operation,” said agriculture ministry spokesperson Chrispin Matongela.
So far, the ministry has spent N$30 million in the fight against locusts.
Matongela said farmers are further advised to remove their animals from sprayed areas for at least 21 days to avoid possible losses.
The ministry has maintained it does not spray close to water ponds to ensure that water is not contaminated through the process.
The spokesperson said prior to the commencement of the spraying exercise, the public is normally notified through the regional and traditional authorities and through radio of the operations to be conducted so that they prepare themselves for the exercise.
Since the outbreak last year, the locusts have destroyed 705 278 hectares of grazing land and 883 hectares of crops in the two Kavango regions, Ohangwena, Zambezi and //Kharas.
The hardest hit is the destruction of 700 000 hectares of grazing land in //Kharas region followed by 5 000 hectares of grazing land in Zambezi region, while 560 hectares of crop was destroyed in Kavango East.
Matongela said the report for Omusati was at the end of last week not available as the ministry was still assessing the situation.
This weekend, the locusts were reported in some parts of Oshikoto and Oshana.
In Oshana, the communities outside Ongwediva resorted to lighting fires and making noise to ward off the swarm of locusts.
The ministry urged the public to report the swarms immediately to the authorities.
Meanwhile, the ministry has established a monitoring and surveillance team in each region to report on the presence of the locusts and also to control the locust outbreak.