Home News Large swarms of brown locusts are invading the Province

Large swarms of brown locusts are invading the Province

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File picture Reuters/Carlos Guevara

Large swarms of brown locusts are passing through the Northern Cape and have been spotted in Upington, Kakamas, Keimoes, Sutherland and Colesberg.

LARGE swarms of brown locusts are invading the Northern Cape and have been spotted in Upington, Kakamas, Keimoes, Sutherland and Colesberg.

Spokesperson for the Department of Agriculture, Environmental Affairs, Land Reform and Rural Development, Zandisile Luphahla, on Thursday said they had noted calls from members of the public regarding the flying brown locust outbreak in various towns.

“This is as a result of hoppers in our Province reaching a flying stage. An uncontrollable influx of the swarm (flyers) which have crossed borders from Namibia into our Province, through areas such as Pofadder, Pella, Onseepkans, Noenieput, Askham, Springbok and Blad-Grond.”

He stated that the locust outbreak was in a “manageable state”.

“Even though the department has managed to control the swarm, there is a high possibility of a huge outbreak as a new generation of locusts were spotted in Springbok, Askham, Blad-Grond, Colesberg and Sutherland.

“The challenge with the flyers and the control time is that they can move from one area to the other in a short space of time, based on the available grazing fields and vegetation.”

MEC for the Department of Agriculture, Environmental Affairs, Land Reform and Rural Development, Mase Manopole, advised motorists to drive cautiously as locusts swarms could obstruct road visibility.

She called on farm owners to allow controllers access to their farms to assist in curbing the outbreak.

“I would like to thank our officials, controllers and our farmers as well as various stakeholders for their continued support to curb the spread. Without their contribution our food security will be at risk. Most importantly, I will also like to thank our communities who continue to alert us of new outbreaks that are taking place in their respective areas. Together we will be able to defeat the scourge,” Manopole added.

Agri-Northern Cape Operations Officer: Economics, Commerce and Natural Resources, Janine Byleveld, said that no major crop damage had been reported in the province so far.

“Farmers are spraying their crops at night and at this stage everything is under control.The Northern Cape experienced a similar outbreak that affected all areas of the province in November while recent rainfall has contributed to another outbreak.”

She stated that the brown locusts were currently concentrated in areas such as Prieska, Hanover, Victoria West and Hopetown.

“The swarms will move in the direction of the wind, where they are flying towards the Eastern Cape and Free State.”

Byleveld added that rainfall in some areas was interfering in planting and crop spraying.

“Many farmers are also still struggling with land that was damaged by the fires, while constant rain is needed until April to break the drought in areas such as Namakwa, Pixley ka Seme and areas of ZF Mgcawu.”

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