Desert Locusts Still Threaten Kenya’s Food Security, FAO Warns

Desert locusts still pose a risk to Kenya’s food security with swarms persisting in four counties, according to the United Nations agency leading the fight against the worst outbreak of the pests in 70 years.

At least three swarms, along with other smaller groups, have been spotted in Samburu County, said Keith Cressman, senior locust forecasting officer at Food and Agriculture Organization.

Three other counties -- Turkana, Marsabit and West Pokot -- are still reporting swarms of the pests, Cressman said in an online interview from northern Kenya, where the FAO is conducting aerial surveys.

At the height of the infestation in March, 39 of the country’s 47 counties reported invasions of desert locusts that also swamped Ethiopia, Somalia, Uganda and Yemen.

Cressman urged continued vigilance. “It’s premature to claim complete victory because we still have swarms and there’s potential for a third generation of breeding,” he said.

There’s also the risk of re-invasion of the insects from Ethiopia, Somalia and Yemen with winds forecast to change direction in November and blow from the north, Cressman said. In addition, the rainy season from October through December will provide ideal breeding conditions.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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