RUNDU - A swarm of African migratory red locusts has last week Thursday invaded the Kavango East region, sparking fear among the residents and farmers.
This follows an outbreak of the same locust that was reported in the Zambezi region earlier this year.
The African migratory red locust is a large grasshopper species that form a swarm caused by unusual climatic conditions.
They pose a potential threat to the agricultural sector of the region.
Chief Agricultural Scientific Officer in the ministry of agriculture in the Kavango East, Moses Munenge said that the locusts do not pose any dangers on human but that they could pose danger to crops and grazing.
Munenge also indicated that his ministry is prepared to suppress the outbreak of locusts in the two Kavango regions.
“We have received some chemicals and equipment from the Zambezi region, it might not be at the magnitude of what they have in the Zambezi region. For any eventualities, we have a team on the ground, a team that has already been exposed to the fight against the locust in the Zambezi region,” he said.
Munenge further maintained that the team dispatched in the region has skills and experience in suppressing the outbreak of the locust.
Earlier last week, sightings of the locust swarm were reported to the ministry of agriculture in the Mukwe constituency, which further spread to Rundu by Thursday.
In addition, the agriculture official called for calm and implored on the farmers to monitor the movements of the locusts and reach out to the agriculture extension officers in their consistencies for the ministry to act swiftly.
A small-scale gardener, who plants tomatoes and cabbage on the banks of the Kavango River, Immanuel Thadeus said that he is worried about the danger the locusts pose to his plantation as he depends on his produce to generate income.
“We are afraid that the locusts might finish all our produce that we are supposed to harvest this year. The government should provide us with equipment to spray these locusts away,” Thadeus said.
He, however, went out of his way to purchase pesticides to protect his crops after observing a swarm of locusts around his garden yesterday.
Thadeus also advised his fellow crop farmers to spray their plantation with appropriate pesticides as a measure to protect their produces from being destroyed by the locusts.
Another gardener, Cecilia Hausona was equally concerned about the outbreak of locusts in the area saying that it could affect her livelihood.
“Since noticing the locust outbreak in our plantation area, it installed some sort of fear in us. We were worried that they will start eating our tomatoes. We don’t work and we rely on these tomatoes to generate income,” Hausona said.
The agricultural sector employs a lot of people in the region, through the Uvhungu-Vhungu and Mashare green scheme projects.
Additionally, most of the population here heavily depend on agriculture for their livelihood.
* Shoki Kandjimi and Cecilia Iyambo are information officers in the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology