Locusts threaten food security

MEMBERS of Parliament from the SADC Region are calling for a concerted regional effort to prevent African migratory locusts (AML) exacerbating an already dire food security situation, amid reports that the destructive pests have become “smarter”.
The locusts are already wreaking havoc in some SADC countries that include Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Angola, stoking fears of famine in a region in which nearly 44.5 million people are already food insecure.
Lewis Hove, the resilience team leader at the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO)’s Sub Regional Office for Southern Africa last week told lawmakers that scientists were baffled by an unprecedented observation that the locusts were now surviving in winter when there is little for them to eat.
“That is a problem we are seeing for the first time. Maybe the temperatures are warmer and they can survive on things they don’t normally graze on. It eats all the cereals and pasture for livestock,” Dr Hove told the MPs who belong to the Standing Committee on Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources of the SADC Parliamentary Forum in a virtual meeting.
Many economies in Southern Africa rely on agriculture, with an estimated 70 percent of the region’s citizens eking their livelihoods in the sector. Although the AML outbreak is the talk of the moment, Dr Hove said there were “much more threats the region faces to food security”.
He said the agriculture sector is still reeling from the catastrophic impact of climate change and recurrent droughts, with dire humanitarian, environmental and productivity consequences. “The impact of climate change has been compounded by the serious consequences of transboundary plants pests and diseases.”
In recent years, climate change has been so severe on crop production that even top grain-producing countries that include South Africa and CLICK TO READ MORE

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