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Western Cape legislature told of challenges in battling provincial locust invasion

A swarm of locusts sighted between Oudtshoorn and Ladismith. Picture: Supplied

A swarm of locusts sighted between Oudtshoorn and Ladismith. Picture: Supplied

Published May 12, 2022

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Cape Town - The legislature has been told that non-payment of locust control teams, insufficient pesticides, poor quality personal protective clothing and poor quality spraying equipment were some of the challenges that hampered the battle against the locust invasion in the province.

However, in March this year the province allocated R5 million to combat the locust infestation in the Central Karoo and Garden Route Districts.

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The funds were made available to provide assistance by way of personal protective equipment, sprayer pumps and aerial spraying support to teams combating the locust outbreak.

This was revealed during a briefing by the provincial agriculture deputy director general Darryl Jacobs to the agriculture standing committee on the status of the locust swarm situation in the Western Cape.

The locust invasion was highlighted in May last year when Agriculture MEC Ivan Meyer announced that farmers in the areas close to the Karoo National Park had signalled they feared a locust infestation after reports of brown locusts laying eggs in the area.

Last month MEC Meyer reported that while the size and occurrence of locust swarms was decreasing, the threat of a recurrence remained.

Jacobs told the committee that the locust infestation needed to be seen in the context of the prolonged drought and that the province’s “drought areas” were the areas that had been infested by the locusts which had depleted planted pastures and veld.

“The locusts infestations across the province are currently under control due to cooler weather coupled with spraying efforts.”

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He said preparations were under way for the pending infestation in September 2022.

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Cape Argus

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