Ethiopia initiates mass campaign to fight locust invasion


Ethiopia has initiated a mass campaign to fight one of the worst locust invasions to affect the eastern African nation in recent years, an Ethiopian official said on Sunday.

Speaking to Xinhua, Daniel Dentamo, Public Relations Directorate Acting Director, at Ethiopia Ministry of Agriculture (MoA), said Ethiopia has been fighting a locust invasion since mid-September, but that the scale and size of locust invasion has compelled the Ethiopian government to initiate a mass campaign to fight the locust invasion.

“The locust invasion hit Ethiopia starting mid-September,moving fast to affect large areas of Ethiopia’s Afar, Somali, Tigray, Oromia, Amhara and Dire Dawa city administration. To fight the locust invasion Ethiopia has mobilized local communities as well as local and federal agricultural experts,” Dentamo told Xinhua.

Dentamo said the Ethiopian government has determined around 67,000 hectares of land has been affected by the locust invasion, with Afar and Tigray regional state effectively fighting the locust invasion.

He further said further activities is being done in parts of Amhara regional state to fight the locust invasion including the use of aerial planes and mass mobilization of local communities.

In addition to the Ethiopian government’s efforts to fight the locust swarm, regional administrations have also mobilized tens of thousands of volunteers to fight the locust invasion threat.

“In addition to proactively fight the locust invasion using modern sprays and traditional methods, the MoA is also actively working to destroy the nesting places of locusts,” he said.

“A single locust can hatch up to 60 eggs at once, our efforts are geared towards ensuring the eggs don’t hatch and create another mass locust population,” Dentamo told Xinhua.

Dentamo further said the proactive coordinated work by federal agencies, local administration and local communities has ensured the locust invasion doesn’t reach western parts of Ethiopia as well reach neighboring countries.

On Thursday, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) warned the locust invasion in Ethiopia would worsen despite ongoing coordinated ground and aerial control operations by the Ministry of Agriculture.

“In Amhara, some farms have registered nearly 100 percent loss of teff, a staple crop in Ethiopia. Moreover, eggs are hatching freely and forming hopper bands in Ethiopia’s Somali region, facilitated by heavy rainfall,” said the FAO statement.

FAO called for fast mobilization of resources to scale up control and preventive measures against the locust invasion.

FAO warned if not controlled the locust invasion could continue moving to other parts of Ethiopia, as well as invade northeast Kenya, large parts of Eritrea and southern coastal areas of Sudan. Enditem

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