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Following the recent announcement 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 have recently been reported 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 were spotted in Merweville. Another large swarm, moving in a South Easterly direction, was spotted 30km east of Beaufort West. Hoppers have been sighted in the Kliprand area of the West Coast.
Notwithstanding these positive trends, Agri Western Cape remains concerned that swarms of locusts have migrated to the Eastern Cape. In this regard, the 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.
According to Dr Ivan Meyer, the Western Cape minister of agriculture, he is thankful to his officials and sector partners, such as organised agriculture, the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD), district municipalities, district locust officers, and the 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 must prevent an impending disaster. Doing so will protect the agricultural sector and livelihoods,” he says. – Press release, Western Cape Department of Agriculture