Weed a R10m problem for KZN

2014-03-20 12:11

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Cape Town – In a new campaign to eradicate a pervasive weed issue, KwaZulu Natal will be spending R10m on the problem.

According to IOL the money will be used by government to employ workers near the N2 and other major routes. These workers will have to spray herbicides along these routes and in addition 150 000ha of the most infected land in KNZ.

Local government will also use funds from other state agencies to create mass facilities that will rear specific insects. These insects will be used to eat pervasive weed plants such as the parthenium hysterophorus.

Parthenium is a particular weed that has been known to cause crop loss in other parts of the world such as Ethiopia and India. It is known as the famine weed and according to the provincial Department of Agriculture and Environmental Affairs eradicating the weed in all parts of KwaZulu Natal is not realistic.

Famine weed has been growing for the last ten years and has been seen near the coast moving up towards Mozambique and Swaziland.

Local conservationists are concerned about the impact the weed will have of commercial and subsistence farmers in the natal region.

The weed is also impacting negatively in nature reserves and game parks.

Scientists believe that the weed will cause extensive crop loss and contribute to the loss of cattle and goats in smaller areas.

Previous studies have illustrated that animals become malnourished and they develop sores and abscesses around their mouths because they are forced to eat the toxic plant.

The weed has also shown to encourage bronchitis, asthma, severe rashes and hay fever.

The department has over the last eight years spent R250m to try and reduce the spread of the plant particularly in northern KwaZulu Natal.
Read more on:    durban  |  conservation  |  plants

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