East African Nations Will Likely Contain Locust Swarms, FAO Says

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East African nations are likely to contain new locust swarms emerging in the region because of continuing pest-control operations and the prospect of poor spring rains, the Food and Agriculture Organization said.

The potential of a new generation of breeding comes after the region faced its worst locust invasion in decades last year, threatening the food security of millions of people. At the height of the infestation, 39 of Kenya’s 47 counties reported invasions of the insects that also spread to Ethiopia, Somalia, Uganda and Yemen.

The present situation in East Africa differs significantly from a year ago, the FAO said.

“The current swarms are smaller in size and less numerous,” it said. “Very little rain has fallen since the end of the short rains last year. Intensive aerial control operations, supported by ground teams, are well established and making good progress in reducing locust infestations.”

The Global Locust Initiative at Arizona State University expects locust outbreaks to become more frequent and severe because of climate change.

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