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MEC calls on farmers to co-operate in order to control brown locust scourge

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The call comes as the brown locusts’ plague increased to 37 small towns in the Northern Cape.

File image. Picture: Coldiretti via AP

The Northern Cape MEC for Agriculture, Mase Manopole, has called on land owners to allow the department’s brown locust controllers access to their farms in order to perform their duties related to the brown locust outbreak.

The call comes as the brown locusts’ plague increased to 37 small towns in the Northern Cape, with hotspots in Poffader in the Namakwa District, Hanover and De Aar in the Pixley ka Seme District.

The department highlighted that farm owners on unoccupied farms continue to deny the departmental officials access to their farms.

The departmental spokesperson Zandisile Luphahla said reports of the outbreak started after the Province experienced good rains in October.

He said the department has so far trained 1 034 people to control the scourge.

Manopole warned that the brown locust swarm is at the third hopper stage, and about to fly in the next 20-25 days.

“If it is not controlled, most of the grazing land and vegetation will be lost,” she warned.

“We have a challenge of unoccupied or neglected farms where landowners are not available or refuse entrance to our locust controllers.

“This poses a serious challenge in controlling the spread of the swarm and running a risk of losing more vegetation and grazing land.

“We are still recuperating from the effects of drought which have lasted more than a decade,” said Manopole.

She further indicated that some of the farmers are not reporting the locust outbreaks on their farms.

“This causes a problem as it is very difficult to control the locust once they are fully grown and flying about.”

Manopole pleaded with landowners to work together with the department to further reduce more outbreaks, in order to ensure food security in the Province.

“The policy for managing the locust problem in South Africa is clear that all areas are subjected to locust control measures, although certain areas like dwelling places will be exempted from such measures.

“However, other effective control measures will have to be applied there to the satisfaction of all relevant parties,” she said

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