Zambezi battles locust outbreak

The Zambezi region is experiencing another African migratory red locust outbreak which is extensively destroying grazing areas and crops.

In August, another wave of African migratory red locust outbreak was reported in the region and the agriculture ministry deployed a team of extension officials to spray the area.

However, the same pest has been spotted in the same area since last week.

Zambezi regional governor Lawrence Sampofu said there are a lot of locusts in the flood-prone areas of Kabbe North and South as well as Katima Rural. The locust outbreak in northeast Zambezi region was detected in August in the floodplains at Lusese, Nakabolelwa, Ibbu and the surrounding areas.

Even though the summer cropping season has come to an end, the locust poses a serious threat to river field crops and livestock grazing areas.

“We had these locusts in August. It seems those locusts laid some eggs and now they are hatching. They are so many. They are destroying grass and grazing areas,” Sampofu noted.

He said the matter has been reported to the agriculture ministry. According to him, although the ministry is busy spraying in some areas, they lack manpower and protective clothing. He said there is just one spraying team on the ground and it’s difficult to cover the three affected constituencies.

He called on the ministry to allocate more manpower to contain the situation. Once an area is sprayed, livestock cannot graze there for at least 21 days as it’s dangerous for their health.

He stated that although spraying the areas have a negative impact on grazing, the community is cooperating with agriculture officials on the ground. This is the third time the country has recorded a locust outbreak this year.

Albertina Nakale