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Southern Africa: Locust Infestation - Sep 2020

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Disaster types
Insect Infestation

Outbreaks of African Migratory Locust (AML) are threatening the food security and livelihoods of millions of people in Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) warned today at the launch of an emergency response effort to control the swarms. Around 7 million people in the four affected countries who are still recovering from the impact of the 2019 drought, and grappling with the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, could experience further food and nutrition insecurity. FAO is working with the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the International Red Locust Control Organization for Central and Southern Africa (IRLCO-CSA) to support the governments of the affected countries to control the locusts. (FAO, 4 Sep 2020)

FAO promotes preventive strategies for locust management, which rely on early warning and early reactions. Delaying the response would prove more costly financially, environmentally, socially and economically. The build-up and spread of the pest could exacerbate the impacts of COVID-19 and threaten the next planting season. Urgent actions are needed to identify locust hotspots and ensure the pest is controlled in them. The capacity of countries to monitor the spread of the pest through regular surveillance and mapping should be enhanced in order to increase their ability to take timely and anticipatory action to prevent the pest from causing serious damage to crops and pastures. (FAO, 21 Sep 2020)

Recent outbreaks of African Migratory Locusts (AMLs) across Southern Africa are threatening 2021 production and compounding the existing challenges caused by floods, drought, and impacts of COVID-19. Both AMLs and red locust hoppers were reported in Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. (GEOGLAM, 8 Oct 2020)

In Zambia the outbreak of the AML affects parts of Central, Southern and Western Provinces. Affected districts include Shibuyunji, Mumbwa, Itezhi-tezhi, Kazungula, Namwala, Sesheke, Nalolo, Mongu, Mwandi, Kalabo, Senanga and Sioma. The invasion has become very serious in Sesheke, Mwandi and Sioma in Western and Kazungula in Southern Provinces. The outbreak of the locusts has the potential to disrupt the 2020/2021 agricultural season that is due to start in October/November and thereby affect household and national food security. (FAO, 26 Oct 2020)

2.3 million people across Angola, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe are at risk of further food security deterioration in the region due to African Migratory Locust (AML). In addition, FAO has released an early warning for Desert Locust for north-eastern regions of the United Republic of Tanzania. ( FAO, FSNWG, NEPAD, OCHA, 23 Nov 2020)

Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Minister Thoko Didiza has announced that [**South Africa**] is currently experiencing outbreaks of locusts in the Free State, Northern Cape and Western Cape. “Control measures are currently being implemented to curb the spread of the locusts. The current strong winds are aiding the fight and spread of the locusts,” Didiza said in a statement on Wednesday. The Minister also urged the farmers and farmer organisations to alert the department whenever they spot a swarm of locusts, and work with the officials on the ground to curb the spread. (Gov't of South Africa, 3 Dec 2020)

Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe have been facing a serious outbreak of the African migratory locust (AML) (Locusta migratoria migratorioides) since May 2020. Damage to summer crops was limited as harvesting had already occurred. However, irrigated crops, winter crops and the next season of summer crops are now in jeopardy. About 1.1 million hectares have already been affected, according to the Food and Nutrition Security Working Group (FSNWG). The AML is a transboundary pest capable of flying long distances and severely affecting crops, pastures as well as food security, nutrition and livelihoods. According to the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC), about 2.3 million people already facing acute food insecurity (IPC Phase 3) are likely to be seriously impacted by AML in Zimbabwe, Zambia and Namibia. (FAO, 18 Dec 2020)

The African Migratory Locust (AML) outbreak has continued in the region, with recent sightings reported in Angola, Botswana, Namibia, and Zambia. High rainfall and abundant vegetation have provided optimal conditions for the breeding and multiplication of the AML. Swarms of locusts have been observed moving between south-eastern Angola, north-western Botswana, north-eastern Namibia, and south-western Zambia. Swarms of Desert Locusts were observed in the Kilimanjaro region of Tanzania. In all the affected areas, control efforts are ongoing. (FEWS NET SADC, 1 Mar 2021)