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Favourable weather prolongs locust menace in Horn of Africa – FAO

Locusts have remained a major threat to the Horn to Africa due to favourable weather conditions, Keith Cressman, a senior locust forecasting officer at the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) said.

Desert locust swarm
Desert locust swarm

In a statement issued in Nairobi on Wednesday, January 27, 2021, Cressman observed that while plenty of efforts have been made in the past year to fight the locusts, the current weather in the region favours the insects.

“We have not seen a break in the weather pattern. We had a cyclone in December.

“Cyclones normally don’t occur in the region during the period, but this is the second year in a row that this is happening and it is favouring the insects,’’ he said.

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The occurrence of cyclones, he noted, means the failure of seasonal rains and the presence of strong winds that carry the locusts from one region to another.

“We still have the challenge to manage the locusts to reduce their impact on food security but we are not worse off.

“For 2021, we need $80 million to control the insects,’’ said Cressman.

In the Horn of Africa, the locusts have invaded Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Somalia, and Ethiopia and have also spread to Pakistan and India in South West Asia. 

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