Zambia to host international red locust organisation headquarters

By Wallace Mawire

Agriculture Minister Joseph Made
Agriculture Minister Joseph Made

The International red locust Organisation for Central and Southern
Africa (IRLCO-CSA) headquarters being constructed in Ndola, Zambia
with the assistance of the country’s government is nearing completion
and is expected to be ready for occupation before the end of 2016,
according to Dr Joseph Made, Zimbabwe’s minister of Agriculture,
Mechanisation and Irrigation Development.

Made gave an update on progress on construction of the centre at the
recent official opening of the 38th regular session of the governing
council of ministers of the IRLCO-CSA hosted by Zimbabwe in April

IRLCO-CSA’s responsibility involves managing and controlling red
locusts at its breeding sites in Malawi, Mozambique, Uganda, Tanzania
and Zambia. This is expected to contribute towards food security in
the two sub-regions.

Apart from red locust management, IRLCO-CSA also works very closely
with member states technical staff in the continuous surveillance,
coordination, data collection, synthesis and feedback on activities of
other migratory pests such as armyworm, quelea and the African
migratory locust.

The organisation carries out applied research developing
environmentally friendly methods of controlling migratory pests and
the related training given to agricultural staff, especially at locust
breeding sites.

“I am made to understand that good progress has been made and that
part of the facility would be ready for occupation before the end of
2016,” Made said.

Made said that when complete, the facility under construction in
Zambia will enhance research capability of the organisation, offer
related training and is expected to be the centre of excellence for
management of migratory pests in the central, eastern and southern
African sub-regions.

Made thanked developmental partners whom he said from time to time had
rendered various forms of assistance to the organisation.

“Honourable ministers, the red locust plague which occurred between
1930 and 1944 invaded many countries south of the equator in Africa.
That vulnerability to a potential locust plague still lurks in the
background, meaning we cannot let down our guard, but continue to
support our organisation,” Made said.

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