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Dept sprays after locust outbreak in NC

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The MEC for the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Mase Manopole said that the Northern Cape was experiencing the highest locust outbreak this season.

File image. Picture: Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO)

The national Department of Agriculture sent an aircraft to assist with the aerial spraying of locusts to address an outbreak in the Northern Cape on Friday.

The MEC for the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Mase Manopole visited emerging farmers in the Vosberg area today to assess the impact of the damage that were caused to crops.

She indicated that the Northern Cape was experiencing the highest locust outbreak this season.

“Recently more areas in the Northern Cape have been experiencing huge outbreaks, where locust swarms are expected to move centrally into the Province.”

She said an aircraft was sent from the national Department of Agriculture along with a team of experts to keep the spread under control.

Manopole urged the farming community to notify the department of any potential outbreak in their respective areas.

She also called on farmers situated along the lower Vaal and lower Orange river systems to ensure the safety of their livestock, water pumps and agricultural equipment after the three sluice gates were opened on February 11.

The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) released water from the Vaal dam in anticipation of rainfall that is expected over the Orange River system over the next few days.

Spokesperson for the Department of Water and Sanitation Sputnik Ratau said more rain would have an impact on the Orange River system and Vaal Dam.

“The Vaal Dam is rapidly filling up and will continue to receive inflows from the upper Vaal. These flows and weather forecasts have necessitated the initiation of a flood control release from the Vaal dam.”

Ratau said the opening of the three sluice gates was to release water in order to protect the infrastructure and to ensure that the Vaal Dam continued to operate optimally

“A fourth gate might be opened as and when the need arises. Presently the Vaal dam is hovering around 106 percent capacity.”