THE government needs an estimated N$30 million to contain the locust outbreak in the Zambezi region.
The outbreak of the African migratory red locust was reported on 12 August 2020 at Muzi, Namiyundu, lvilivizi, Lusese, Ihaha, Nakabolelwa, Masikili, Malindi, Ibbu, Ngala, Muyako, Mahundu, Machita, Kikiya, Kanono, Muketela, Linyanti, Chinchimani and Kapani areas.
Agriculture, Water and Land Reform minister Calle Schlettwein told the National Assembly on Thursday that since then, more reports are being received on a daily basis.
"This is the second outbreak in the Zambezi region this year following the first outbreak in February 2020. An area of about 4000 square kilometres has been invaded and 500 hectares of grazing has so far been destroyed by the locust," Schlettwein said.
The minister added the required funds are for manpower, vehicle fleet, equipment, personnel protective equipment (PPEs) and other resources to effectively combat the outbreak.
The minister said following reports of the outbreak, a spraying team of 35 staff members trained at different Agricultural Development Centres across the country had been deployed.
The ministry also dispatched 4 175 litres of pesticides to contain the pest outbreak.
"There are several challenges being faced by the team on the ground which includes: lack of camping equipment, vehicles, and the vastness of the area. Based on these challenges, we are convinced that aerial spraying should be introduced to combat the outbreak in a more effective and faster way, reinforce teams to constitute six staff members on a rotational basis," Schlettwein added.