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The Western Cape Department of Agriculture has made R5 million immediately available to provide support in personal protective equipment, sprayer pumps and aerial spraying to teams combatting the outbreak of locust swarms in the Western Cape. Combatting the locust infestation is critical for food security and rural livelihoods.

The locust infestation levels, including the new areas it has migrated into, have placed enormous pressure on our farmers in Central and Little Karoo. 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, which are renowned for pastures, small grain crops, and fruit, are also under threat.

National legislation clearly states that managing migratory pests is a national mandate and outlines the critical role that provincial governments should play in supporting and facilitating the migratory pests’ infestations to divert a disaster.

Read more about locust insecticide regulations here.

Our immediate step is to mitigate the locust infestation in the Western Cape in collaboration with its sector partners such as organised agriculture, the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, district municipalities, district locust officers, and the Provincial Disaster Management Centre (PDMC).

The PDMC has activated the Locust Joint Operation Committee and a 24-hour action plan has been put in place until the locust infestation levels are under control. I have also written to the national minister of agriculture, land reform and rural development, Ms Thoko Didiza, to seek additional support as we battle the current outbreak.

The department will continue to work with our stakeholders to find a lasting solution to protect the agricultural sector in the Western Cape. This includes engaging with the Eastern Cape and Northern Cape provinces. We have to prevent an impending disaster and doing so will protect the agricultural sector and livelihoods. – Press release, Dr Ivan Meyer, Western Cape Minister of Agriculture