This article appeared in the Inyanda Community News newspaper, which is published every two months by the Inyanda National Land Movement and distributed nationwide through its affiliate organisations. SPONSORED MY MDDA
Small holder farmers from five villages in Mqayise received prompt assistance from the state when locusts began destroying their crops. It was around the middle of December last year when rural small holder farmers in Mqayise noticed locusts destroying their crops. These crops included beans, kale, comfrey, prickly pear, and spinach. The locusts were all around the area, in the crops and the open fields where the livestock are grazing.
They reported the matter to the extension officer responsible for their ward, who took it up with the Research Centre for the Department of Rural Development and Agrarian Reform (DRDAR) at Stutterheim (Dohne).
Scientists from Dohne visited the area and took samples. They reported to the District Director of Amathole District and recommended which medicine/pesticide to use.
Last month in January, all the farmers were asked to come together to view and to demonstrate how to use equipment and medication/pesticide brought by the District Director to help the farmers with the locusts.
The District Director, the Manager in Raymond Mhlaba local municipality, extension officers and animal science officers converged on Mqayise to inspect what was happening and to demonstrate how to deal with the locusts.
The Veterinary Section and officers were also asked to be part in order to check if there was any interference with livestock. They urged farmers to have a sharp eye and report any untoward observation with their animals. The two scientists from Dohne were also part of the delegation.
The medication/pesticide worked but the problem was locusts that were outside the yards which could not be sprayed for fear of harm to livestock. For the time being, farmers are monitoring the situation, and able also to manually eradicate locusts in their crops; but it is difficult to eradicate them in the open fields where the livestock are grazing. There remains the problem of locusts coming into the crop yards.