LOCUST SWARMS IN THE WESTERN CAPE ARE DIMINISHING IN SIZE AND NUMBER, BUT THE THREAT REMAINSCasidra
Following my announcement two weeks ago that the Western Cape Government has allocated R5 million rand towards combating the locust infestation in Central Karoo and Garden Route Districts, indications confirm that the size and occurrence of locust swarms are decreasing in the Western Cape. The threat of re-occurrence, however, remains.
No further sightings of locust swarms were reported the past week in Laingsburg. In addition, the number and size of swarms in Murraysburg, the Garden Route District and Beaufort West have diminished.
One swarm was sighted in Prince Albert, while two swarms in Merweville. Another large swarm, moving in a South Easterly direction, was spotted 30
kilomteres East of Beaufort West. Hoppers have been sighted in the Kliprand area of the West Coast.
Notwithstanding these positive trends, we remain concerned that swarms of locusts have migrated to the Eastern Cape, and we are also aware that eggs are lying dormant and will hatch in ideal weather conditions. In this regard, my Department and the Provincial Disaster Management Centre are finalising the latest Assessment Report to quantify the full extent of losses experienced by the agricultural sector and the outlook ahead. This report will serve as the basis to enable the Province to approach the National Disaster Management Centre to request a Disaster Classification in partnership with the Disaster Management Centres in the Eastern and Northern Cape Provinces.
I am thankful to my officials and sector partners, such as organised agriculture, DALRRD, district municipalities, District Locust Officers, and Provincial Disaster Management Centre (PDMC), for taking the necessary steps to mitigate the locust infestation in the Western Cape.
The Western Cape will continue to work with our stakeholders to find a sustainable solution to protect the agricultural sector in the Western Cape.
We have to prevent an impending disaster. Doing so will protect the agricultural sector and livelihoods.