Parts of South Africa have been hit by an outbreak of locusts, Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Minister Thoko Didiza announced on Thursday.The locust-hit areas are Free State, Northern Cape and Western Cape provinces where control measures are currently being implemented to curb the spread of the devastating insects farther, Didiza said.
According to the minister, current strong winds were aiding the flight and spread of the flying pests.
“I wish to urge farmers and their organisations to alert us whenever they spot these locusts, and work with our officials on the ground to curb their spread,” Didiza said.
The minister said her office has dispatched teams of specialists to the affected provinces to work with the local agriculture officials and farmers’ organisations to contain the crop-eating insects.
Farmers have been given the necessary information to ensure that they adhered to the insecticide protocols such as the use and storage of the insecticide and dosages needed per hectare, she added.
The Ministry of Agriculture Ministry said there are two classifications of the locusts – the hopers and the flyers.
Hopers posed little threat to the environment, and the ministry’s aim was to manage the current outbreak before the locusts reached the flying stage, the office said.
Pesticides that are being used to kill the locusts are not harmful to the vegetation and livestock, the ministry added.