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About P50,0000 Needed for Locust Control in Botswana

MAUN- The Department of Agriculture  will need P500 000 to control and contain the recent African Migratory locust invasion in some parts of Ngamiland.

The acting regional agricultural coordinator, Mr Kenny Mabote said to a special disaster committee meeting that the locust outbreak was reported last week around Mababe and had now spread to the Okavango Sub-district’s Habu and Seronga areas.

He said all efforts to control the outbreak at Mababe proved futile as the locusts had instead multiplied and relocated, given that they could travel 50-100km per day.

Mr Mabote said an investigation team had been sent to Mababe, they did not find the pest and only to later receive reports of outbreaks in the Habu and Seronga areas.

Three other teams had also been sent to Seronga, Maun and Gumare, he said.

Mr Mabote said the locust control exercise was going to be financially crippling explaining that the ISPAAD budget was already exhausted.

Stating further that the outbreak could last for seven months, Mr Mabote called on all stakeholders to join forces to control the locust which he said threatened food security.

Failure to control it might lead to the invasion spreading to other districts thereby frustrating farmers’ efforts at a critical time when the ploughing season was fast approaching, he warned.

Mr Mabote stated that although the locust had so far only been spotted in wildlife management areas such as parks, it might change it direction rapidly because of the wind.

He also said it was a pity that the outbreak had occurred since communities were still recovering from the 2019 drought and economic impacts of COVID-19.

Expressing appreciation for the P200 000 fleet maintenance funds Ministry of Agricultural Development and Food Security had pledged, Mr Mabote however said it was inadequate as it would cover 17-19 vehicles only.

He said other departments had been approached to assist with necessary resources such as camping equipment, COVID-19 equipment, mosquito nets, seven trucks and air/boat transport to ensure access into the delta.

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