Namibia to use tablets, cellphones for monitoring of locust outbreaks

Namibia’s fight against locust outbreaks got a boost from the United Nations agency, the Food and Agriculture Organization(FAO) on Tuesday as 20 tablets and over 56 smartphones were handed over at an event in Windhoek.

The donation is in line with the implementation of the project titled Rapid Response to the African Migratory Locust outbreak in southern Africa, and forms part of FAO’s longstanding support to the locust response activities in Namibia.

“The electronic equipment is primarily intended to assist Namibia’s Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform’s (MAWLR) to carry out locust surveillance and monitoring activities more effectively,’ said FAO Namibia’s country representative, Farayi Zimudzi.

According to Zimudzi, these devices will contribute to effective and timely surveillance, monitoring and reporting of locust activities which is crucial to the subsequent actions to ensure food security.

Speaking at the same event, MAWLR acting executive director, Ndiyakupi Nghituwamata thanked the FAO for the contribution as Namibia continues to battle with these transboundary pests which have caused significant damage to food security over the past years.

Namibia since the first wave in February 2020 has been battling with swarms of the African migratory red locusts as well as brown locusts across the country, with over 2,000 hectares (ha) of cropland and 700,000 ha of grazing land having been impacted negatively by these transboundary pests.

According to Nghituwamata, the devices will be distributed to the locust hotspots across the country to enhance rapid response and surveillance as these high-impact outbreaks of locusts compound the already fragile food and nutrition situation in the country.

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