AgriEC on Eastern Cape locust outbreak and the assistance provided

AgriEC on Eastern Cape locust outbreak and the assistance provided

The Eastern Cape, along with Western and Northern Cape, are experiencing a major outbreak of Brown Locust, Locustana pardalina.

“Within the Eastern Cape, majority of the upper Western Region of the Province has been affected by this outbreak, with areas such as Aberdeen, Willowmore, Graaff-Rienet, Middelburg and Somerset East to name a few,” said Eben du Plessis, AgriEC Deputy President.

“Currently most of the swarms are still in the ‘hopper’ life stage with some areas reporting ‘flyers’. It is predicted that within the next two weeks most swarms will be flyers, and hence the need to control is urgent.

“Locust spraying teams have been established within most of the areas affected in order to combat this outbreak. These teams are working dusk to dawn in attempts to control and manage these swarms, as well as prevent the locusts from maturing, heading further east and causing more destruction.”

Du Plessis added that landowners/users are obliged by legislation to report swarms on their property.

“We encourage anyone who comes across a swarm to report it to the National and Provincial Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) or Agri Eastern Cape (contact details provided below),” he said.

“DALRRD is the National Department responsible for the control and management of the Brown Locust and other migratory pests throughout South Africa.

“With this outbreak, DALRRD have been placed under major pressure to assist with the control of these locusts within the effected Provinces. The breakdown of DALRRD’s De Aar Office truck made the accessibility of insecticide and equipment to the Eastern Cape challenging.

“Thorough consultation with DALRRD has allowed for a good working relationship to be formed between Agri EC (including Organised Agriculture within the other Provinces) and has slightly eased the coordination and distribution of insecticide and equipment within the province.”

On Thursday, 2nd December 2021, the Eastern Cape Department of Rural Development, Agrarian Reform (DRDAR) stepped in and provided much needed assistance by providing a truck to assist with the delivery of insecticide and equipment to the affected areas within the Eastern Cape to assist with the control of the locusts.

“Eastern Cape DRDAR’s main role in this matter is to assist in reporting locust swarms and creating awareness, but they have surpassed this role,” said Du Plessis.

“Agri EC would like to take this opportunity to thank the Eastern Cape DRDAR for their efforts and assistance in this regard.

“Private farmers have been given the go ahead to collect insecticide from their respective District Locust Officer, to spray on their own lands. Farmers will have to be given a ‘crash course’ on the correct spraying methods, as per the legislation and policies before they will be able to spray.

“Sumi-Alpha is the insecticide provided by DALRRD and regulated by the Act on Fertilizers, Farm Feeds, Agricultural Remedies and Stock Remedies (No. 36 of 1947) which must be used to control these locusts.

“We are aware that other poisons/insecticides are being used and encourage all to rather obtain and use the correct chemical for the job at hand, to prevent further crisis’ from occurring.

“Locust swarms may be reported to DALRRD: 053 631 3122/3261, the De Aar Office will not be closing over the festive season.”

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