WESTERN CAPE COMMITS R5M TO COMBAT LOCUST INFESTATION IN THE KAROOCasidra
The Western Cape Department of Agriculture has made R5 million immediately available to provide support in personal protective equipment, sprayer pumps and aerial spraying support to teams combatting the outbreak of locust swarms in the Western Cape. Casidra is part of the joint operation team to ensure that the combatting of locust infestation is successfully operated, as this is critical for food security and rural livelihoods.
The locust infestation levels, including the new areas they have migrated into, have placed enormous pressure on our farmers in the Central and Little Karoo.
The fruit and wine commodity groups are under severe pressure, with locust swarms migrating into the Calitzdorp, Ladismith and Oudtshoorn areas. The Swellendam and Barrydale areas renowned for pastures, small grain crops, and fruit are also under threat.
National legislation clearly states that managing migratory pests is a National mandate. National legislation, however, clearly outlines the critical role that the Province should play in supporting and facilitating the migratory pests’ infestations to divert a disaster.
Our immediate step is to mitigate the locust infestation in the Western Cape in collaboration with its sector partners such as organised agriculture, DALRRD, district municipalities, District Locust Officers, and the Provincial Disaster Management Centre (PDMC).
The PDMC has activated the Locust Joint Operation Committee (JOC), and a 24-hour action plan has been put in place until the locust infestation levels are under control.
The Provincial Minister of Agriculture wrote to the National Minister of Agriculture, Ms Thoko Didiza, to seek additional support as we battle the current outbreak.
The Western Cape will continue to work with its stakeholders to find a lasting solution to protect the agricultural sector in the Province. This includes engaging with the Eastern Cape and Northern Cape Provinces.
It is critical to prevent an impending disaster. Doing so will protect the agricultural sector and livelihoods.