ON the eve of the ploughing and planting season the Environmental Investment Fund (EIF) of Namibia availed N$2 million towards combating the outbreak of the African Migratory Red Locusts in the northern regions of Namibia.
Since the occurrence of the second outbreak in early August, the locusts have managed to destroy at least 500 hectares of grazing land in the Zambezi Region.
The outbreak holds an immense threat not only to the aspect of food security but because farmers are beginning ploughing preparations.
The EIF handed the funds over the Ministry of Agriculture, Water, and Land Reform and during the ceremony the head of Communications and Corporate Services, Lot Ndamanomhata, on behalf of the Chief Executive Officer, Benedict Libanda said that with the contribution, it is with hopes that this assistance will go a long way to alleviate the problem.
“At the Environmental Investment Fund, we see these challenges as opportunities to be transformative and introduce a paradigm shift to business unusual,” said Ndamanomhata.
He further urged businesses, organisations and stakeholders, to get involved where possible in order to secure vegetation and ensure food security is not undermined.
In response the Executive Director of the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform, Percy Misika said that the agricultural sector remains pivotal to the lives of the majority of the Namibian people, supporting more than 70% of the country’s population for sustenance, incomes and livelihoods.
“So far we have taken the following measures of deploying spraying teams comprising of 35 trained staff members, dispatched 14 vehicles, mist blowers, four vehicle-mounted sprayers, 4 175 litres of pesticides to contain the outbreak, amongst other things,” Misika said.
He added that the funds received from the EIF will be used to purchase more biological pesticides, mist blowers, protective gear such as gloves, gumboots, disposable overalls, chemical respirators, and goggles.
“This contribution and dedication by the EIF is uplifting the agricultural sector during hard times like these. I would like to commend the EIF for such great gesture which will support the combating of African Migratory Red Locust outbreak and safeguard food production and the livelihoods of the populations that depend on agriculture,” Misika said.
The first African Migratory Red Locust outbreak was reported in February 2020, which saw it affect the Zambezi, Kavango East, Kavango West, Ohangwena, Oshikoto, Oshana, Omusati, Omaheke and Ojtozondjupa regions, thus affecting nine of the ten crop-growing regions.