Desert Locust Infestation Declines in Horn of Africa: FAO

Photo taken on Feb. 4, 2020, shows a cloud of locusts flying in Mwingi North, Kenya. Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for the UN secretary-general, said besides Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia were undergoing their worst locust infestation in 25 years. (Xinhua/Fred Mutune)

Somalilandsun: Delayed rains in the Horn of Africa have helped keep the locust population down, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations said in its latest update on Thursday.

“As a result of poor rains in Kenya and Ethiopia, the swarms currently present in both countries are remaining immature and continue to decline due to ongoing control operations,” said FAO.

The agency noted that without rainfall, the swarms will not mature and breed, thus severely limiting the scale and extent of any breeding this season.

“The current situation is likely to continue for the remainder of this month as no significant rains are predicted to fall in northern Kenya, Ethiopia or Somalia,” said FAO.

For this reason, it added, there is cautious optimism that the current upsurge is winding down in the Horn of Africa, especially if poor rains continue to limit breeding.

“Nevertheless, it is essential to increase surveys and sustain current control operations in the affected countries as well as maintain a close watch for any unusual developments,” said FAO.

In Kenya, a few small immature swarms continue to be seen mainly in the county of Nakuru, west of Mt. Kenya, and occasionally the insects have been sighted in Kajiado county near the Tanzania border, according to the agency.

Control operations are still ongoing across the region in Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, and Tanzania.