red locust

K4.7m to beef up fight against red locust

The Zambian government released K4.7 million to bolster efforts to bring the plague of red locust under control. The pest has invaded more than 3 000 hectares of maize fields in Central Province’s Itezhi-tezhi and Mumbwa districts.

This still left a shortage of more than K5 million needed to effectively wipe out the migratory crop-eating locusts.

Agriculture minister Dora Siliya on Tuesday said the situation is alarming, as swarm formations were escalating.

“This is now a regional threat to the food security of Zambian and other Southern African countries,” Siliya said.

The International Red Locust Control for Central and Southern Africa (IRLCo-CSA) agrees.

According to IRLCo-CSA, climatic changes in six member states – Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique, Malawi, Kenya and Tanzania – brought about favourable breeding conditions for red locust and army worm.

Siliya said eradicating the red locust will require a coordinated effort among countries.

“I will soon be writing to my counterparts who are member states of the IRLCo-CSA to mobilise resources for a regional response to the red locusts,” Siliya said.

A total of K10 million is needed to deal with the locusts which were first spotted in Zambia’s Kafue flood plains in December 2016.

The IRLCo-CSA is already spraying maize fields under attack in Central Province.

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