Authorities Move To Exterminate Sexanana In The North West District

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Prosopis Mesquite commonly known as Sexanana locally, is said to be posing a serious threat to the North West District’s rich biodiversity. This has prompted authorities in the district to employ methods to exterminate the plant in areas it has invaded, as a control measure.

The shrubby plant has evergreen leaves and causes environmental harm if left unmanaged, covering and dominating grassland pastures and areas previously covered by native plants.

Prosopis, commonly referred to as Sexanana is mostly found in the Kgalagadi region and originates from South America and was introduced in Botswana around the 1980s with the objective to addressing desertification. The invasive shrub is said to spread rapidly in the rangelands, croplands and forests and in particular threatens pastoral and agro-pastoral livelihoods.

This was revealed by North West District Council Chairman Itumeleng Kelebetseng during the just ended full council meeting.

According to Kelebetseng, the plant has been found in some homesteads in Sanyedi and Boseja wards of Maun with a few also identified at Sehithwa and Tsau villages.

“This invasion must be robustly managed as it poses a threat to the biodiversity of the Okavango Delta. Because of the close proximity to the Okavango Delta and Maun high water table, the District has employed mechanical (uprooting) control measure to manage it at Sanyedi and Boseja wards, which is expected to end by June 2024,” Kelebetseng noted.

He added that uprooting in Sehithwa and Tsau will commence thereafter and is expected to be completed by August 2024. Kelebetseng further noted that fifteen temporary laborers were engaged to uproot the plant through Village Development Committee to uplift their livelihoods.

Kelebetseng revealed that the extermination of the plant has been funded through the Transitional National Development Plan (TNDP) at an amount of P283, 456.00. The exercise has necessitated the removal of fences (mesh wire) along some homesteads which he said is being replaced by the department.

Meanwhile Kelebetseng revealed that there is a general reduction of salvinia mats at most monitoring sites such as those along Abaqao and Maunachira channels within Moremi Game Reserve. He added that only a few isolated patches were seen, indicating effective biological control.

“Fresh but isolated salvinia mats were found accompanying the new floods along the Boro River at Xaxaba. The Xudum River has also started to receive its annual flows and an infestation was discovered, as well as upstream of Kanana camp,” Kelebetseng said.

He added that a few plants were found at Daunara on the Santantadibe River while another infestation was found accumulating at a blockage at the Ditshiping wooden bridge.

“The department is in the process of seeding all the affected areas with salvinia weevils for control. Although the Thamalakane River has dried up, a small infestation was discovered in an isolated pool south of the Maun Senior Secondary School bridge and it was cleared by handpicking,”   Kelebetseng said.

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