The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has warned that locust swarms are expected to swarm large parts of Ethiopia and Kenya in the coming weeks.
In its latest update of the situation, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) revealed that dry weather conditions in the Horn of Africa region are expected to facilitate locust swarms in large parts of Kenya and Ethiopia. « While conditions remain dry in some areas, swarms are expected to disperse throughout southern and northern Ethiopia and north-central Kenya, » says the latest FAO report.
« Any rainfall in the coming weeks will cause the swarms to mature and lay eggs, which will hatch into hopper bands in February and March. Intensive ground and aerial control operations are underway in both countries to reduce the current locust swarm populations so that the scale of future breeding will be smaller, » he added.
Earlier this month, the Ethiopian government announced that it had sent planes and helicopters in its fight against the locust invasion. The planes are being used to assess the extent of the locust invasion and to spray locust-affected areas with chemicals.
Since June 2019, Ethiopia has been suffering its worst locust invasion in about 25 years, affecting the country’s main crop-producing regions. The Desert Locust, considered « the most dangerous of the nearly a dozen locust species », is a threat to food security in the desert areas of 20 countries, stretching from West Africa to India, covering nearly 16 million square kilometres, according to the UN.
An adult Desert Locust consumes food roughly equal to its weight, about two grams a day, which means that even a small swarm of insects will eat food consumed by six elephants, 20 camels or 35 000 people every day, according to FAO.