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400 Times Stronger Swarm Of Desert Locusts To Hit Kenya Threatening Food Security

locusts
Locusts. [Courtesy]

Locusts have frustrated farmers since last June, ravaging their farms hence threatening food security in East Africa; Kenya, Uganda, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Eritrea, Djibouti and Sudan.

Experts predict that the second wave of locusts could be 20 times worse than the first one.

Why? Well, wet conditions and rainfall above average this season could create favourable breeding grounds hence increasing their population by 400 times.

The first desert locust infestation originated from the Arabian Peninsula sometime in 2018 after two cyclones dumped rainfall creating a breeding ground.

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In just nine months, the number of locusts multiplied 8,000 times.

The locusts arrived in Kenya earlier this year where it is estimated that they destroyed 30 per cent of fertile land.

With heavy rainfall in February and March, the female locusts laid huge number of eggs which in two weeks hatched into nymphs and into adults that now can feed.

The swarms in Kenya which is at moment fighting the novel COVID-19, are yet to mature to lay eggs but will be ready in the coming weeks.

Read Also: Ethiopian Airliner Hits Swarm Of Locusts, Landing Delayed For Over Half An Hour

With the rainy season upon us, experts predict the bigger, stronger swarms will consume 100 percent of the farmers’ crops.

“The concern at the moment is that the desert locust will eat under-emerging plants,” said Cyril Ferrand, FAO’s resilience team leader for Eastern Africa. “This very soft, green material, biomass leaves, rangeland, is, of course, the favorite food for the desert locusts.”

FAO hopes that the dry season will push the swarms to the North in July but should they stay put, an additional 5 million people could go without food.

In March however, Agriculture CS Peter Munya said the government had the situation under control.

Read Also: Watch Out For Floods In Rift Valley, Nyanza And These Areas- Met Department

“We have not yet reached the stage of declaring a national disaster. This is an extreme measure usually taken to attract funding to deal with a particular problem and we already have this funding,”

With partners like, World Bank, Germany, the EU, the US and the African Development Bank, the CS said plans to control the locusts was well on course.

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Written by Eva Nyambura

Content creator at Kahawatungu.com | Passionate about telling the untold story. Lover of life, music and technology. Simplicity is KEY

Email: news@kahawatungu.com

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