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Zimbabwe on alert amid locust outbreaks in Botswana, Namibia

Zimbabwe is on high alert for the African migratory locusts amid reports of another outbreak of the crop-devouring pests in…

Zimbabwe is on high alert for the African migratory locusts amid reports of another outbreak of the crop-devouring pests in neighbouring Botswana and Namibia, an official said on Monday.Plant Quarantine and Plant Protection Research Services Institute head Shingirai Nyamutukwa said the Zimbabwean authorities have mobilised resources to minimise the effects of an invasion of the African migratory locust from Botswana and Namibia.

“We are keeping check on their control efforts so as to assess risks of invasion into Zimbabwe,” Nyamutukwa told the state-run Herald daily.

This is the latest outbreak of the locusts following another invasion of the pests that hit Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe last year.

Heavy rains have created conducive conditions for swarms to breed in these countries forcing plant protection agencies to take steps to control any outbreaks.

Nyamutukwa revealed that Botswana and Namibia officials have warned that some other types of locusts are emerging besides the African migratory locust owing to the wet weather which create favourable factors for all these insects to multiply.

“With a lot of food available due to good rains, we expect the region to have a torrid time to fight locust outbreaks throughout the last half of the season,” Nyamutukwa said.

Locusts are among the most destructive pests in the world. A single swarm, which can contain tens of millions of adult locusts, can eat as much in one day as 2,500 people, according to experts.

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