Prof Mkenda: Locust swarms under control

15May 2021
The Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
Prof Mkenda: Locust swarms under control

THE government has managed to control locust swarms that hit the northern part of the country earlier this year, a senior official has said.

Addressing journalists here on Wednesday, Minister for Agriculture, Prof Adolf Mkenda said the destructive pests stormed the country and the rest of east Africa early this year.

The locusts   invaded the     country from neighboring Kenya hitting northern districts of Mwanga, Siha and Moshi (Kilimanjaro), Simanjiro (Manyara); Longido, Monduli and Ngorongoro (Arusha); and Lushoto (Tanga).

Prof Mkenda said that the locusts used to move in one area to another and the highly affected districts included Siha (Kilimanjaro), Simanjiro (Manyara); Longido and Monduli (Arusha) destroying  6,441ha of farmland.

On red locust, Prof Mkenda said they are in the natural breeding sites Malagarasi River Basin (Kigoma and Kaliua), Ikuu/Katavi conservancies (Mpanda), Wembere Basin (Igunga), and Lake Rukwa Basin (Sumbawanga).

He however said that there are auxiliary breeding areas in Bahi whereby the ministry makes evaluation of the red locusts' breeding sites and come up with measures to control them.

In the 2020/2021 season experts from the ministry in collaboration with the International Red Locust Control Organization for Central and Southern Africa (IRLCO-CSA) carried out a survey on the insects' breeding sites and discovered that there is no threat on the vice.

Early this year, huge swarms of desert locusts reported to have invaded some of the country’s northern regions including Kilimanjaro from Kenya, darkening horizons and causing panic among farmers, who fear destruction of their crops.

Onesmo Biswelu, a district commissioner, said swarms of locusts invaded large-scale plantations at the Ngare-Nairobi ward in the district.

However, the government swiftly deployed special planes to spray pesticides in the affected areas, Biswelu said.

“We have managed to contain them, and destruction to crops is minimal,” he said.

Huge swarms of desert locusts, believed to be triggered by the changing weather patterns, have been destroying crops across swathes of eastern and northern Africa.

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