Small-scale farmer Xolisa Dwane from Ilizwi La Mafama says brown locusts is destroying his crops at an alarming rate. Dwane says he doesn’t know what to do as he practices agroecology and the use of chemicals is prohibited.
In a media statement the Minister for Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Thokozile Didiza, explained that government is aware of the brown locusts outbreak in the Eastern Cape, which was first spotted in September 2021. In the statement, the Minister explained that the outbreak was caused by heavy rainfall and wind which helps the locusts reach far flung areas. Government has implemented awareness campaigns and the spraying of insectides to assist. In densely populated forests, they use aerial sprays.
After the arrival of a government task team, Dwane was asked to vacate his fields for a few days so that they could spray his fields. Dwane advised the spraying team against the overuse of chemicals as it could kill the soil and some livestock. When Dwane arrived at the farm, instead of finding dead locusts he found that the locusts had multiplied. Dwane suspects the locusts may be resistant to the chemicals and says his farm has been destroyed.
Dwane still calls on farmers affected by the locust outbreak to cooperate with government and report if they spot any locusts.