A red locust swarm covering 20 000 hectares in the Kafue flood plains has been detected by the Ndola-based International Red Locust Control for Central and Southern African (IRLCo-CSA). This gives rise to further threats to this year’s harvest.
President Edgar Lungu directed the Treasury to release ZMW1 million to IRLCo-CSA to repel an invasion by the locusts. IRLCo-CSA was established in 1949 by an international convention, and is tasked to identify the source of red locusts and bring outbreaks under control.
“The order by the president to release the funds demonstrates government’s readiness to respond to the situation at hand,” said Minister of Agriculture Dora Siliya who disclosed the developments over the weekend. “If not quickly contained the red locusts could affect this year’s harvest given the fact that we are already faced with the army worms attacking our maize fields,” Siliya warned.
‘If not quickly contained the red locusts could affect this year’s harvest’
IRLCo-CSA director Moses Okoba said that his organisation had detected the red locusts in the Kafue flood plains and Mweru Wantipa in Luapula. “I can confirm that up to 20,000 hectares in the Kafue flood plains is infested with the locusts, and the situation requires immediate attention,” he said.
According to IRLCo-CSA, the prognosis to contain the locusts was good as it had already put in place measures to restrict and wipe out the locusts in the two localities.
Red locusts are crop-eating grasshopper in Sub-Saharan Africa that can wipe out a maize land within minutes.