By Prisca Nyirenda
The International Red Locust Control Organization for Central and Southern Africa has started the extermination of the African Migratory Locust which has invaded some parts of Kazungula district.
The Locust which has been breeding since March 2020 in the Simalaha plains of Sikaunzwe camp, have increased in numbers covering over twenty five thousand hectares of land on the east and west of Livingstone -Sesheke road stretching from Ngwezi bridge to Kasaya bridge.
Mr. Ayoub Nchimbi, a scientist from the International Red Locust Control, has confirmed that there are 30 to 50 per square meter of locusts in the Simalaha plains which are in the fourth and fifth growth stages.
Mr. Nchimbi notes that the African Migratory locust is more dangerous than the red locusts which usually breed in the Simalaha plains as it can have 3 to 5 generations in the year if not controlled.
“They are destructive because they eat according to their body weight. For example the estimated weight of a locust is 2grams and its able to eat 2gram per day, so a small swam of 10 million locusts could eat 20 tons in a field”, he said.
He said the organization has started spot ground spray of pesticides using motorized sprayers to reduce the numbers of locusts but has pointed out the need for scaling up the control measures by using aircraft spraying.
And Provincial Agricultural Coordinator for southern Province Dr. Max Choombe has hailed the organization for responding promptly to arrest the situation and break the breeding cycle of the locusts.
Dr. Choombe noted the locust is already reproducing as the area has both nymphs and adults hence the need to break the cycle and avoid long term effects on crop production.
Kazungula District Crops Husbandry Officer Slyvacy Shibulo has emphasized that the high population of the African Migratory Locust is risking crops in the winter season and the next farming season.
“ Locusts can be remembered even biblically to be major causes of famine in many nations as we read out, so even today we are at greater risk not until these are controlled”, Mr. Shibulo said.
He said the control measure need to be scaled up to aero plane spraying which will be more effective because the locust has spread widely and some areas are having tall grass making it difficult when using motorized sprayers