… As it calls for concerted effort from stakeholders to thwart the threat
By Bennie Mundando
THE outbreak of African migratory locusts in Central, Southern, and Western Provinces has become a major source of concern ahead of the 2020/2021 rain season with Government now planning to undertake a comprehensive surveillance exercise to establish the extent of the infestation.
Chief Government spokesperson Dora Siliya says the locust invasion formed part of the agenda in today’s virtual Cabinet meeting which was chaired by President Edgar Lungu as it can potentially disrupt the forthcoming rain season.
Ms. Siliya says Cabinet underscored the fact that the locusts have the potential to undermine the country’s food security and that the Ministry of Agriculture has undertaken preliminary surveys in the districts that have reported an outbreak.
She says Cabinet is aware that the outbreak of the locusts has the potential to disrupt the 2020/2021 agricultural season that is due to start next month and thereby affect the food security of the country.
“Cabinet agreed that in order to control the spread of the locusts, the Ministry of Agriculture needs to undertake ground and aerial spraying of the affected areas and these are Kazungula, Sesheke, Mwandi, Nalolo, Mongu, Kalabo, Shibuyunji and Mumbwa.
“Given that the control of the locusts is a multi-disciplinary and multi-sectoral response, Cabinet resolved that key stakeholders that include the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock, Ministry of Tourism and Arts, and Ministry of Health, continue to meet and provide the necessary guidance on the matter,” Ms. Siliya said.