Locust crisis calm in east Africa – FAO

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Photo taken on Feb. 4, 2020 shows a cloud of locusts flying in Mwingi North, Kenya. A number of East African countries are suffering serious locust infestation, with Kenya experiencing its worst in 70 years, which, if left unchecked, could grow 500 times in scale by June, a UN spokesman said Friday. Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for the UN secretary-general, said besides Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia are undergoing their worst locust infestation in 25 years, and that Djibouti, Eritrea, Uganda and Tanzania are also experiencing swarm activity and locust breeding, while the risk of spread to South Sudan is high. (Xinhua/Fred Mutune)

Intensified control operations and limited breeding of locusts in east Africa have calmed the locust crisis in the region, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) said in its latest update on Thursday.

FAO noted that control operations have been intensified in Ethiopia and Kenya against swarms that are still immature.

“Good progress has been achieved, particularly in Kenya where swarms are no longer arriving from the north,” said the UN agency.

According to FAO, rains that fell during the last week of February may allow swarms to mature rapidly in northern Kenya and southern Ethiopia and lay eggs that could hatch in late March, causing small hopper bands to form.

“However, breeding this spring is likely to be limited as control operations continue to reduce current infestations and well below-normal rains are forecasted,” it said.

The UN organization observed that in northeast Tanzania, there are reports of small immature swarms near Arusha.

In the Red Sea winter breeding areas, control operations are in progress against a few swarms on the central coast in Sudan where breeding is continuing, it said, adding the situation is calm further north near Sudan and in many other areas of the region. Enditem

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