Namibia needs 1.8 million USD to fight locust outbreak: minister

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A local tour guide holds a handfull of dead desert locusts after an invasion in Shaba National Reserve in Isiolo, northern Kenya, 16 January 2020 (issued 18 January 2020). Large swarms of desert locusts have been invading northern Kenya for weeks, after having infested some 70,000 hectares of land in Somalia which the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has termed the 'worst situation in 25 years' in the Horn of Africa. FAO cautioned on 13 January 2020 that it poses an 'unprecedented threat' to food security and livelihoods in the region. The government is spraying pesticide in the affected areas to battle the insects. EPA/Daniel Irungu

Namibia needs an estimated amount of 30 million Namibia dollars (1.8 million U.S. dollars) for resources to deal with the locust outbreak in the northeast Zambezi region, Agriculture Minister Calle Schlettwein said Thursday.

The outbreak of the African migratory red locust was reported on Aug. 12, 2020. Since then, daily reports have been coming in, said Schlettwein.

This is the second outbreak in the Zambezi region this year following the first one in February 2020. A total area of 4,002 square km has been invaded and 500 hectares of grazing destroyed by the locust so far, he said.

The minister said Namibia needs funds for more resources in terms of manpower, fleet, equipment, personnel protective equipments and other resources to effectively combat the outbreak.

“Following the reports on the locust outbreak, a spraying team of 35 staff members that are trained in methods to combat outbreaks from different agricultural development centers across the country has been deployed,” Schlettwein added.

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