Government on high alert against locust outbreak

By Gondai Kamumango

The Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement has assured the nation that Government is on high alert for a potential locust outbreak which threatens food security in Southern Africa with unusual climate conditions singled out to blame.

Posting on its Twitter handle, the Ministry revealed that the locust outbreak is spreading in parts of East Africa and threatening to spread to Southern Africa including Zimbabwe.

“Our Government is prepared for any outbreak. A serious outbreak of locusts is spreading in parts of East Africa and posing an unprecedented threat to food security in some of the world’s most vulnerable countries in Southern Africa also, with unusual climate conditions to blame.

“Roughly the length of a finger, the insects fly together by the millions. They devour crops and destroy grazing plots, threatening food production and local economies. An extremely dangerous increase in locust swarm activity has been reported in Kenya,” revealed the Ministry.

According to the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the outbreak is making the region's bad food security situation worse, with hundreds of thousands of acres of crops destroyed.

The outbreak of desert locusts, considered the most dangerous locust species, has also affected parts of Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan, Djibouti and Eritrea. Parts of South Sudan and Uganda could be next, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) has warned.