Namibia’s government sources for $1.77 million to combat red locusts’ invasion

Namibia has become the latest African country to be hit by the scourge of red locusts; with at least 500 hectares of grazing land reported to have been destroyed. The Agriculture ministry says that a total of 4,000 square kilometers have been invaded by locusts in the last month alone.

The latest hit areas in the southern African nation are located in the fertile Zambezi region, which borders Zambia, Zimbabwe, Angola and Botswana.

The red locust outbreak which began in August 12, has left the country needing 30 million Namibian dollars ($1.77 million) to combat the spread and enable aerial spraying.

Both Zambia and Angola have begun spraying from air, which according to Agriculture minister Carle Schlettwin, was driving locusts to Namibia that hasn’t began doing so.

“Namibia’s agriculture ministry is planning to source the money from the private sector and anyone who can come on board,” said Sophia Kasheeta, deputy executive director of the agriculture ministry.

This is the second such outbreak to hit Namibia this year. In February, red-winged grasshopper species, common to sub-Saharan Africa, caused damages worth more than $15 million. The locusts breed prolifically in conditions of drought followed by rain and rapid vegetation growth.

African migratory red locusts have caused millions of dollars in damage across Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia, Uganda, Tanzania, and Sudan this year alone.

The Food and Agriculture Organization is one of the international bodies that have stepped forward and are providing technical assistance to Namibia to combat the situation.

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