Plague of locusts enters NC – is SA prepared for an ‘epidemic’?

The Northern Cape is home to many locust outbreaks but the latest cloud of locusts have been spreading like wildfire. The struggles of controlling the swarms are proving very challenging.

Locusts are swarming into the Northern Cape

Agri Northern Cape’s President Nicol Jansen spoke about the extensive infestation the Northern Cape is currently facing.

“This outbreak is just huge. The first two populations were relatively brought under control by insecticide as they went through their lives. However, the third gust is a crisis of epidemic proportions.”

Nicol Jansen, Agri Northern Cape President

Jansen explained that in January, farmers sprayed the second swarm of locusts off but were not expecting this third cloud to appear. He shared that the locusts come in swarms that are around 3km long.

Large clouds of locusts are impacting about 33 towns

Jansen stated that the swarms were large and resembled dark clouds. He stated that there are two large swarms that are currently causing damage and destruction in and around the Northern Cape.

The Northern Cape Department of Agriculture revealed that the outbreak is escalating. This is especially true in the Pixley ka Seme District. Most of the area is being impacted by adult locusts while a new generation of locusts is making its way in.

Approximately 33 farming towns have been impacted by the locusts. Jansen stated that spraying crops has been made difficult due to limited equipment.

Helicopters are being used to spray insecticide

The department has since got its hands on two helicopters.

The choppers will be used to aerial spray the impacted areas and districts that are inaccessible. The department shared that Upington is one of the towns that has a helicopter while the second one is situated around De Aar. It is focused on assisting the eastern-based farming towns.

Private sectors are also trying to raise funds in order to get a crop duster in the air. Crop dusting involves spraying agriculture with protective products such as insecticide. This is usually done through an agricultural aircraft.

Jansen shared that 9,000km of land has been sprayed.

Will food security be impacted?

Although the current locust outbreak won’t directly impact food security, Jansen said that profits in the agriculture sector will be affected.

↯↯↯Read More On The Topic On TDPel Media ↯↯↯