As farmers crops have come under threat from locust farms, the Western Cape Department of Agriculture has made R5 million available to combat the outbreak in Little Karoo.
According to a statement released by the department of agriculture in the Western Cape, the R5 million was made immediately available as the locust infestation have placed enormous pressure on the farmers in Central and Little Karoo.
“The fruit and wine commodity groups are under severe pressure, as the locust infestation levels advance. Locust swarms have migrated into the Calitzdorp, Ladysmith, and Oudshoorn areas.”
“The Swellendam and Barrydale areas renowned for pastures, small grain crops and fruit are also under threat,” said Western Cape minister of Agriculture Ivan Meyer.
Combating the Locust infestation
The department has collaborated with Organised Agriculture, Department of Agriculture Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD), District municipalities, District Locust Officers and Provincial Disaster Management Centre (PDMC) to impend this disaster.
The money will provide support with Personal protective equipment, sprayer pumps, and aerial spraying support.
“National legislation clearly states that managing migratory pests is a national mandate. However it clearly outlines the critical role that the province should play in supporting and facilitating the migratory pests infestations to divert a disaster.” Said Meyer
He explained that the locust infestation is critical for food security and rural livelihoods.
The minister said that he has also written to the National Minister of Agriculture, Thoko Didiza to seek additional support.
The PDMC has activated the Locust Operation Committee (JOC) and a 24-hour action plan has been put in place until the infestation levels are under control.
“The Western Cape will continue to work with our stakeholders to find a lasting solution to protect the agricultural sector in the Western Cape. This includes engaging with the Eastern Cape and Northern Cape provinces.” Meyer added