GIANT swarms of locusts made a sudden appearance in the Ohangwena Region over the weekend and the insects are devouring everything in their path while they are migrating west.
The locusts have progressively moved into the Omusati Region and were reported to be in the area of Olupaka by Tuesday afternoon.
The locusts that were spotted in villages near Ondjiva in southern Angola last week, entered Namibia on Saturday and are destroying crops and grazing in the border villages in the Ongenga constituency.
“Desperate farmers tried their level best to by all means scare the insects, achieving only a limited success,” said senior headman George Nelulu, the chairperson of the Oukwanyama Traditional Authority (OuTA).
He said that only a few villages under the jurisdiction of OuTA were affected before the locusts moved on to Okalongo and Anamulenge constituencies, Omusati Region.
Angula Kanelombe, spokesperson of the Ombalantu Traditional Authority said that the locusts made their appearance Monday, destroying crops in three to four villages near the Namibia-Angola border before “flying” to areas near Outapi and then moving away westwards.
“We, as the traditional authority, are currently monitoring the situation and in touch with affected farmers but do not yet have the full picture of what happened. We are going to investigate the extent of the damage caused and share the information with the relevant authorities,” said Kanelombe.
The agriculture ministry has deployed locust fighting teams to mitigate the impact on local farmers.
Locally known as “oshipaxu”, the appearance of locusts is a rare phenomenon in the former Owamboland.
Some young people remember only hearing dreadful stories from their grandparents about locusts that, once upon a time, appeared in the area and devoured all the crops, causing a devastating food scarcity.
“I am 40 years old and I have never seen anything like this. My elderly parents are saying the same thing. I only heard dreadful locust stories from my grandparents that I silently dismissed as legend,” said Ongenga resident, Johannes Kaukuwa.
“My grandparents used to tell me that locusts can cover the sun like huge clouds. I struggled to believe what they told me, but now I saw it with my own two eyes,” he said.