Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development has announced an outbreak of red locusts in Mulanje district.

In a recent press release signed by the Principal Secretary, Erica Maganga, the locust swarms are said to have been first sighted on September 19 in Chinyama section along the Ruo River.

“The affected areas are Unyolo 1, Sanyika, Ntidza, Thembe, Samera, Unyolo 2 and Golden. Currently, the swarm is moving toward the direction of Luchenza in Thyolo and Thuchira EPA on the border of Chiradzulu,” reads the statement in part.

The ministry further stipulates that currently the locusts have been seen in trees and damaging cassava, maize, banana, sweet potato and pigeon peas.

An aerial survey is expected to be conducted to locate the origin of the swarm and carry out control operations.

“The Ministry wishes to assure the general public and the affected people of Mulanje that it is doing everything possible to deal with the situation and that it has organized officials to assist communities with pesticides and it is also making arrangements for aerial spraying,” further stipulates the Ministry in the statement.

Moreover, the Ministry has advised communities to refrain from picking and consuming weakened or dead locusts which have been sprayed with pesticides to avoid any health risks.

Communities have also been advised to immediately report any swarms of locusts to the nearest Agriculture Office for quick control and operations to avoid extensive damage of crops.

_Mana

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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