Written by: Gillian Fraser
In 2020’s ‘season finale’, locust plagues of Biblical proportions are currently devastating crops in three South African provinces, as confirmed by Agriculture, Land Reform, and Rural Development Minister Thoko Didiza.
In a statement released on Thursday, Didiza confirmed that the Free State, Northern Cape, and Western Cape are currently experiencing mass outbreaks of locusts, which could put immense pressure on South Africa’s agricultural industry and crop production.
The swarms are being aided by strong winds and dry conditions. On Thursday, Didiza outlined a plan of action to combat the outbreaks.
“Control measures are currently being implemented to curb the spread of the locusts. The current strong winds are aiding the fight and spread of the locusts. Farmers and farmer organisations must alert the department whenever they spot a swarm of locusts and work with the officials on the ground to curb the spread.
“The department has already dispatched a team of specialists to the affected provinces to work with the provincial departments of Agriculture and Rural Development officials and our own entity, the Agricultural Research Council.”
– Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Minister Thoko Didiza
Who To Contact If You Encounter Locusts In SA:
- Gert Greyvenstein: 082 451 4860
- Vuyokazi Mpumlwana: 084 760 8176
- Dr Ikalafeng Kgakatsi: 072 198 9882
A full statement has been issued via the Agricultural Ministry’s Twitter page:
[Media Statement] Minister Didiza announces the outbreak of Locusts in Various Provinces. @verified @ARCSouthAfrica @obpvaccines @GovernmentZA @FarmersWeeklySA @VukuzenzeleNews #Outbreak #AnimalHealth pic.twitter.com/4yGdHIucSU
— Department of Agriculture, Land Ref and Rural Dev (@DALRRDgov_ZA) December 3, 2020
Date published: 07/12/2020
Feature image: Kenyan farmer Theophilus Mwendwa attempts to chase away a swarm of desert locusts, some 200km east of the capital Nairobi. Image for illustrative purposes only.
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