Namibia: Locusts Stopped in Their Tracks

29 April 2021

Omuthiya — The swarm of locusts observed in the northern areas over the past couple of weeks are said not to have caused major damage to crop fields and grazing land, according to officials and inhabitants.

Not even in Ohangwena region, which was besieged by the swarms of migratory locusts few weeks back, recorded extensive damage - in as much as the situation seemed tense.

The situation was alleviated through community intervention in scaring away the locusts, efforts which were complemented by swift response from the ministry of agriculture's officials by spraying.

On the other hand, residents were also retaliating by eating the locusts.

The locusts have since disappeared; it is suspected they crossed into Angola, where it is believed they had originated from.

"We do not have cases of locust attacks anymore. Based on our observations in some of the areas we visited, no major damage was ascertained. Only a few crop fields and grazing land was destroyed," said Ohangwena governor Walde Ndevashiya. Ndevashiya could, however, not be precise on the extent of the damages, saying agriculture officials who are still in the field are undertaking an assessment.

Agriculture spokesperson Jona Musheko shared similar sentiments that destruction was relatively low but could not rule out that some places were extensively damaged.

"Our officials in all four northern regions are still busy with assessments; it's only then we can exactly know the damage caused once a detailed report is compiled," said Musheko.

Asked on what interventions are in place to assist the affected communities, Musheko said: "action or relief will be decided upon, based on want will be established; that's when authorities will sit and decide what sort of help can be offered."

Reports indicate the ministry has so far spent N$22 million in fighting the grasshoppers.

Similarly, according to authorities and residents, no severe damage was observed in Oshikoto, where the swarm passed through three weeks ago.

"They were first spotted at Ohaiyanda village and proceeded to other places before disappearing. But according to the report, nothing much was lost, although we still look forward to the findings from the agriculture officials," said Eengodhi constituency councillor Protasius Neshuku.

The locusts also passed through areas in Omuthiya constituency - but due to people's efforts, they were scared away before feasting on anything.

The same is said for Oshana and Omusati, where there is low destruction.

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