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Invasion of the locusts

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Invasion of the locusts

North West face battle to stop hungry pests

The North West is battling an invasion of African migratory locusts, which are multiplying rapidly and on the verge of spiralling out of control.

For the past two months, the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Resources has been tirelessly spraying fields and grasslands in affected areas.

However, despite their best efforts, the resilient insects have spread with frightening speed, stretching the Ministry’s manpower to the limit.

This week, the Ministry’s PRO in the North West District, Clifford Molefe admitted they were struggling to contain the pests.

Invasion of the locusts
CONCERNED: Molefe

“We have experienced an increase in incidents of African migratory locust during the middle of April. The pest that we thought we were on the verge of successfully controlling towards the end of March now came in high numbers and are now more widespread than before!” conceded Molefe.

Initially, swarms were spotted in Qurube and Tubu areas near Gumare in March. Today, while they still maintain a threatening presence in those areas, they have also spread to Xaxaba, Gunotsoga, Lake Ngami and Etsha.

“The increase could be a result mostly of swarms that were escaping from the inflow of water into the Okavango Delta areas that had dried up and there was a lot of grassland there which the locust was feeding on. This was realised upon a surveillance team of ministry officials that led them into the delta and they discovered locusts near Xaxaba settlement,” revealed the Ministry spokesperson.

As of last week, the Ministry stepped up its efforts in the battle against the locusts.

“We have pulled human resources and other resources from other districts in an effort to cope with the increased number of swarms that are not only affecting cropping fields but also rangeland that is used as grazing pastures for livestock,” declared Molefe.

The difficulty faced by the Ministry is that pests cannot be controlled within the delta.

“The ecosystem there would not allow for it to be controlled as there are a lot of other insects that could be affected and aquatic life could also be affected, more so this is the time when water is flowing into the delta,” explained Molefe.

The locusts have already ravaged thousands of hectares of grazing land and fields in this part of the country. With the outbreak of Coronavirus that forced the country to go into lockdown since 3 April, many fields were left unattended for days. The owners returned to find their fields decimated, with only maize stalks remaining.

“It appears the locusts have a very high appetite for maize. When they get into a field with a variety of crops, they go for maize and leave other crops untouched,” revealed Deputy District Commissioner in Okavango, Thabang Waloka.

Bat plague hits Maun schools
DECIMATED: Maize stalk

At least 96 farmers in Waloka’s area have been affected by the pests, which have since destroyed 94.07 hectares of maize.

“In total 1, 214.07 hectares have been affected by locusts in the North West of which 311.73 are fields and 902.34 grassland,” Waloka confirmed.

These marauding swarms threaten to leave many in Ngamiland and Okavango areas facing a dire food security situation.

Already, the people’s resources have been hit hard by last year’s outbreak of the contagious cattle disease, ambylomma variegatum, also known as tropical bont tick (kgofa), which killed thousands of their cattle.

It is a point not lost on Ngami Member of Parliament (MP), Carter Hikuama.

“Many farmers lost their cattle last year during the bont tick outbreak and decided to venture into crop production this year. It is disheartening to see how helpless these farmers are now. For them, it is crisis after disaster,” a concerned Hikuama told Okavango Voice in an exclusive interview this week.

Invasion of the locusts
WORRIED: Hikuama

With no end in sight for this chain of natural disasters, Hikuama is adamant Government must help

“Government should think about them, they lost cattle, they are losing their crops and this is an area where many people live in abject poverty, but who try hard to graduate from this condition through farming.”

According to experts, a single swarm of locusts can consume more than 200, 000 tons of vegetation and multiply ten folds in three to six months. However, locusts are said to have a short life span, and do not survive in wetland but rather where there is a lot of grass.

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Dr Gure’s anti climax

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Dr Gure's anti climax

Ministry of Health silences sex doctor

Celebrity Medical Doctor, Thusang Gure who has been dishing out explicit sex advice on social media has been cautioned to stop.

The young Doctor with more than 200 000 followers on Facebook had become a darling of many women who religiously followed his sex lessons.

Although he started his sex talk during a late night show at one of the radio stations, Gure shot to social media fame when he started posting videos about sex on Facebook.

However, the excitement that came with his talks was last week brought to a screeching halt by the Ministry of Health and Wellness, leaving thousands of his fans and followers high and dry.

Information gathered by this publication has indicated that the Ministry was concerned that Dr Gure was masquerading as a sexologist (a specialist in sexual matters) when he was a General Practitioner.

According to the source, Gure who runs Medexo Private Clinic is a General Practitioner but his talks gave people an impression that he was a specialist by focusing on a specific area of medicine, especially in public.

“What he was doing was clearly advertising and medical practitioners are not allowed to do that. The other problem is that he googles most of the information he passes on to unsuspecting followers as expert advice,” the source stated

Asked why they summoned Dr Gure to the ministry, Chief Medical officer, Goabaone Rainer Mosimanegape said, “We as the regulator called him for a meeting and asked him to work hand in hand with us. We want to guide him so that he doesn’t look like he is encouraging some things which are out of line.”

Mosimanegape said that the ministry’s meeting with Dr Gure shouldn’t be viewed as a gag on Gure as he is a reasonable young man who was likely to take advice to stay in his lane.

“We didn’t summon him, we simply called him for a meeting which can help him going forward,” Mosimanegape emphasized.

Meanwhile, Dr Gure denied having any knowledge of the meeting.

“I am unaware of any such issues involving myself and if my name is used in any of your publications without factual basis then I reserve my legal rights,” he said in his response when asked to confirm if indeed he was warned to stop posting salacious sex advice.

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Police question Councillor in poaching probe

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Umbrella for Democratic Change’s Councillor for Matlapana ward in Maun, Kobamelo Baikgodise, is among five men who have been questioned by Maun police over a buffalo poaching incident that reportedly took place in Khwai, about three weeks ago.

Baikgodise has however denied the arrest but said rather that he was summoned to the police station where he was questioned and wrote a statement over the incident which took place during the same weekend when he was in Khwai.

“As you may be well aware that I am friends with the Council Chairman, I had paid him a visit in Khwai during the weekend of the alleged poaching,” Baikgodise explained in a brief interview this week.

The Councillor stated that he had in fact taken the Council Chairman- Kebareeditse Ntsogotlho’s building material to Khwai and only went to the alleged poaching scene after Ntsogotlho’s injury.

“I was not at the scene, I was only alerted of his injury and that is when I went to the scene. I could not even talk to him because it was a bloody scene and he was in serious pain, so I did not even know what exactly happened that led to his injury,” Baikgodise explained.

The alleged poaching incident is still being investigated by the police who took the matter up following social media reports that the North West District Council Chairman, was attacked and injured by the buffalo early this month, during the extreme social distancing and movement lockdown.

Currently Ntsogotlho is hospitalised at Nyangabwe Referal Hospital where he is nursing thigh injuries.

Last week Ntsogotlho was hopeful that he would be released from hospital this week.

When shedding light on the matter, District No.5 police Commanding Officer, Peter Gochela, had stated that they have arrested and questioned some suspects on the matter but could not divulge names as they have not yet been charged.

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