With neighboring countries battling crop-ravaging locusts, Zimbabwe readies itself for potential outbreak

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Credit: National Geographic
Credit: National Geographic

Shingirai Nyamutukwa, head of the [Zimbabwe] Plant Quarantine and Plant Protection Research Services Institute [January 17] said there was an alert following reports of a new round of locust outbreaks.

“Yes, it’s true that Namibia and Botswana are battling another wave of locust outbreaks. The locusts are in all stages from nymphs to adults. We’re keeping check on their control efforts so as to assess risks of invasion into Zimbabwe,” he said.

Last year, locust outbreaks in Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia and Zambia were controlled.

Heavy rains have created conducive conditions for swarms to breed in these countries, forcing plant protection agencies to take steps to control any outbreaks.

SADC and partner organisations like International Red Locust Control Organization for Central and Southern Africa (IRLCO-CSA) were working with the four countries to control the pest and protect people’s livelihoods.

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In Namibia and Botswana, the plant protection expert said, some other types of locusts are emerging besides the African migratory locust owing to the wet weather which create favorable factors for all these insects to multiply.

“With a lot of food available due to good rains, we expect the region to have a [difficult time fighting] locust outbreaks throughout the last half of the season,” Nyamutukwa said.

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