red locust

‘Red locusts threat to food security in Southern Africa’, IRLCo-CSA warns

Forecasts show migratory red locusts may affect food security in southern Africa. This according to the International Red Locust Control Organisation for Central and Southern Africa.

In a related development the IRLCo-CSA has started spraying the 3 000 hectares of maize fields under attack by pests in Central Province.

The IRLCo-CSA says climatic changes brought about favourable breeding conditions for red locust and army worm.

“Forecasts show all migratory pets will be a concern next year and may affect food security in southern Africa,” IRLCo-CSA director Moses Okhoba told a recent session of the governing council of ministers in Harare, Zimbabwe.

According to a paper presented by the IRLCo-CSA head, the situation is worrying because of limited resources to conduct surveys and control operations.

IRLCO-CSA’s six member states – Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique, Malawi, Kenya and Tanzania – are on high alert as the current climate patterns increased the prevalence of red locusts.

In December 2016, swarms of locusts were spotted in Zambia’s Kafue Flood Plains, and have since attacked 3 000 hectares of maize fields in Itezhi-tezhi and Mumbwa districts in Central province. About 2 500 farmers are affected.

Okhoba said his organisation had over the weekend started to spray affected maize fields in the two districts.

“If we don’t prevent the swarm formations, this will be a serious danger to food security in Zambia and the region as a whole,” he said.

Government released K2 million to help bring red locust under control. A total of K10 million was needed to effectively wipe out the pests.

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