Gaborone – An anticipated bumper harvest in Southern Africa is under threat from swarms of locusts, two United Nations agencies have warned.
In a new report, the Food and Agriculture Organisation and World Food Programme said the threat posed by locusts was particularly high in five SADC member states.
“In Southern Africa, more specifically in parts of Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe, a serious outbreak of the African migratory locust poses a serious threat to summer cropping,” the report says.
The report says the harvest prospects are good, an assessment given earlier by the SADC Security Early Warning Systems Agromet Update. Now the continued presence of African migratory locusts (AML) could result in losses.
“In 2021, country reports indicate that AML swarms have increased between January and March in northwestern and northeastern parts (of Botswana) where abundant rainfall have been conducive for insect breeding. However, assessments of the actual extent of the area affected and the damage caused to crops are not yet available,” the report says.
Media reports from Zimbabwe indicate locusts have ravaged more than 8,000ha of sorghum, millet and maize in the southeast of the country, with the infestation described as the worst in decades.
In Namibia, The Southern Times has earlier reported that a second wave of red migratory locusts was being categorised by Agriculture Minister Carl Schlettwein as more severe than the first, with the outbreak largely concentrated in the north, central and east of the country.