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Brown locust outbreak hits Chris Hani, Sarah Baartman districts in EC

One hundred and twenty-seven farms have been affected in Middelburg Cape, Graaff-Reinet, Aberdeen, Cradock, Nieuethesda, Pearston and Jansenville.

Picture: Pixabay.com

CAPE TOWN - The Eastern Cape government has confirmed a brown locust outbreak in two districts, Chris Hani and Sarah Baartman.

One hundred and twenty-seven farms have been affected in Middelburg Cape, Graaff-Reinet, Aberdeen, Cradock, Nieuethesda, Pearston and Jansenville.

The brown locust is a classified agricultural pest in South Africa, preferring mainly grasses and cereals, though other crops can also be attacked.

The Eastern Cape government has compiled a list of emerging farmers in the affected districts.

They will be trained to play a role in the management of the pest before the swarms reach the flying stage.

Spraying with knapsacks and bakkie pump sprayers has already started.

Departmental entomologist Nolitha Skenjana said: “Currently, the outbreak is in areas where there is livestock farming in the Eastern Cape and the insects are competing with livestock for grass. If they are not controlled, they might migrate to crops and vegetables and other areas.”

Meanwhile, officials are also busy scouting and farmers are urged to report any new outbreak.

The department said the locusts were currently in stage one and some were turning to stage two.

Skenjana said in just more than 21 days, it's expected they would be flying and then it would be difficult to spray them.

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