Home Nairobi Wire News UN warns locusts could invade Kenya

UN warns locusts could invade Kenya

The UN has said that if an Ethiopian locust infestation is
not brought under control then the crop-devouring insect could
“invade” neighbouring countries.

The Ethiopian government has called for “immediate
action” to deal with the problem affecting four of the country’s nine
states, a UN statement said.

In northern Amhara state some farmers have lost
“nearly 100%” of their crop of the staple grain, teff, it added.

Efforts to control the infestation have so far not been
effective.

The authorities’ work has also been affected by
“ongoing insecurity” in some areas of the country, according to the
UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO).

“We need to act fast and mobilise the required
resources urgently to scale up control and preventive measures,” FAO
Ethiopia representative Fatouma Seid said.

Last week, the government said it had sent planes to the
affected areas to try to deal with the problem from the air.

Overall, the desert locusts have devoured crops and pasture
across a swathe of land covering parts of the Tigray, Amhara, Oromia and Somali
regional states.

The FAO estimated that the insects were eating 1.8 million
tonnes of vegetation a day across 350 sq km (135 sq miles) of the country.

If additional control measures fail then the locusts
“could continue moving within Ethiopia and invade” north-eastern
Kenya, parts of Eritrea, and Sudan’s southern coast, the FAO said.

The locusts are thought to have spread from Yemen three
months ago.

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