CATHERINE MUMBA, Lusaka
GOVERNMENT has so far spent US$400,000 to carry out surveys on the red locusts which are breeding in Itezhi Itezhi in Southern Province, Minister of Agriculture Dora Siliya has said.
And Ms Siliya said regional effort is required to exterminate the locusts before June when they are expected to be fully grown.
Ms Siliya said this when he met with Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) assistant director general for agriculture and consumer protection Ren Wang, director in charge of plant protection Hans Dryer, and senior locust forecasting officer in Rome yesterday.
“I also informed the director general of the threat of red locusts in the region, and that Zambia had agreed to spend US$400,000 to fight the locusts against a budget of one million dollars,” she said.
Ms Siliya said the FAO officers agreed that unless regional steps are taken, the locusts are a threat to food security in southern and eastern Africa.
She said it was agreed that the regional FAO office will work closely with Zambia and other Southern African Development Community member states to provide technical support in fighting the red locusts.
Ms Siliya thanked FAO for the seven million-dollar support for climate change mitigation and adaptation which has been given to Zambia, Malawi and Vietnam.