“We will continue assessing the situation to advance the required interventions in order to curb the further spread of the locusts,” the Executive Director of the Ministry Percy Misika said, urging farmers in the region to report any detected presence of red locusts in their areas.
Locusts were flying in from Botswana and Zambia, according to the Ministry, which shared videos showing thick clouds of insects flying low over crop fields and farmland in the central Otjozondjupa region.
The large grasshopper species, which is marked by bright red wings, is common to sub-Saharan Africa and breeds abundantly under drought conditions followed by rain and rapid vegetation growth.
Namibian officials said it was too early to link the infestation to locust swarms wreaking havoc in East Africa since last year in a migration that started in the Middle East and has been worsened by the coronavirus pandemic.
Ministry spokesperson Margaret Kalo told Reuters details of the extent of the damage caused by the locusts were not available at this stage.
The summer harvesting season has been completed but the red locusts pose a serious threat to winter crops such as wheat and barley as well as livestock grazing areas, she said.
The latest red locust invasion follows a similar outbreak in February in the Zambezi region, named after Africa’s fourth-largest river, which overlaps parts of Namibia, Angola, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Botswana.