Southern Africa scrambles against locust invasion

Authorities in Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe are frantically trying to control the giant swarms of migratory locusts, which have put 7 million people in the southern region at risk of famine. The four countries have launched pesticide spraying efforts to combat the invasion, as the United Nations warns about widespread food insecurity.

Smallholder farmers in Botswana lost their entire harvest at the start of the southern outbreak in May, with the growing region of Pandamatenga and its key sorghum crops at risk. The ravenous insects are distinct from the desert locust, which has already flattened farms and devastated crops in the Horn of Africa.

Namibia’s initial outbreak in the Zambezi plain has spread to key farming regions, while locusts in Zambia are spreading rapidly and affecting both crop and grazing lands.

According to, the outlook is no better in Zimbabwe, where swarms and hoppers—juvenile insects—have infested two sites in the Chiredzi District, home to a sugar estate, and are now invading the country’s second most populous province, Manicaland.

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