locusts outbreak
Locust outbreak in South Africa. Image by André Nijsen from Pixabay

Locust outbreaks are currently plaguing South Africa in parts of the Free State, Northern Cape and Western Cape, fuelled further by strong winds, according to Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Minister Thoko Didiza.

“Control measures are currently being implemented to curb the spread of the locusts. The current strong winds are aiding the fight and spread of the locusts,” Didiza said in a statement on Wednesday.

The Minister urged farmers and farmer organisations to alert the department whenever they spot a swarm of locusts, and work with the officials on the ground to curb the spread.

“The department has already dispatched a team of specialists to the affected provinces to work with the provincial departments of Agriculture and Rural Development officials and our entity, the Agricultural Research Council and farmer organisations,” Didiza said.

The department has advised farmers and members of the public to report the visibility of swarms of locusts in their areas to the following department officials: Gert Greyvenstein on 082 451 4860, Vuyokazi Mpumlwana 084 760 8176 and Dr Ikalafeng Kgakatsi on 072 198 9882. –