Zambia + 3 more

Zambia: African Migratory Locust, Flash Update – 26 October 2020



12 districts affected

88,700 Households in need of urgent humanitarian assistance

47,000 hectares estimated to be destroyed by AML

$1,150,000needed by the FAO to assist the affected districts in Zambia


On 4 September 2020, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Accra warned that Outbreaks of African Migratory Locust (AML) are threatening the food security and livelihoods of millions of people in Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The AML outbreaks in southern Africa are separate to the Desert Locust emergency in Eastern Africa. Locusts are among the most destructive pests in the world. One swarm can contain tens of millions of adults - there are currently multiple swarms in the southern region. A single swarm can eat as much in one day as 2,500 people, demolishing crops and livestock pasture in a matter of hours.

In Zambia the outbreak of the AML affects parts of Central, Southern and Western Provinces. Affected districts include Shibuyunji, Mumbwa, Itezhi-tezhi, Kazungula, Namwala, Sesheke, Nalolo, Mongu, Mwandi, Kalabo,
Senanga and Sioma. The invasion has become very serious in Sesheke, Mwandi and Sioma in Western and Kazungula in Southern Provinces. The outbreak of the locusts has the potential to disrupt the 2020/2021 agricultural season that is due to start in October/November and thereby affect household and national food security.

In March 2020, an outbreak of the AML was reported in Kazungula district of Southern Province. Immediately, the Ministry of Agriculture and the International Red Locust Control Organization for Central and Southern Africa carried out ground and aerial surveys in Kazungula district and confirmed the outbreak of African Migratory Locusts. More than 22,000 hectares in the Simahala, Kasaya and Subilo plains along the Zambezi River have been surveyed during this exercise. While some of the affected districts were classified potential or at risk, crop and pasture loss in the 12 confirmed districts (Namwala, Itezhi tezhi, Kazungula, Mongu, Kalabo, Senanga, Nalolo, Mwandi, Sesheke, Sioma,
Mumbwa, and Shibuyunji) is estimated at above 362,461 tons from 282,901 hectares, affecting more than 88,712 households (443,560 people). If it escalates to neighbouring districts and countries not yet affected into 2020/21 planting season, a total land for both crops and pasture of over 13,307,000 hectares might be affected. It is worth noting that farmers in western province plant their maize in the dambos (shallow wetlands) by mid -October and that rice is about to be planted in the plains. Given the current locust outbreak, farmers are now reluctant to plant their crops and this may have a negative impact on their household food security.