Kenya faces risk of second locust invasion – FAO

A swarm of desert locusts flies over a ranch near the town of Nanyuki in Laikipia County, Kenya, February 21, 2020. REUTERS-Baz Ratner-File Photo

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) warned on Sunday that Kenya could face an imminent second wave of locust invasion, an official source said.

The UN agency said control operations are underway against small bands of grasshoppers that were forming from local breeding in Samburu county, northern Kenya.

In a statement issued in Nairobi on Sunday, the FAO said that some of the swarms that reached Kenya may have laid eggs in southern Somalia before their arrival.

“However, there is still a risk that more eggs will be laid in the sandy areas of northeast Kenya, where recent rains have fallen.

“Breeding continues in central Somalia and eastern Ethiopia, where there are bands of grasshoppers,” the agency said, adding that a new generation of immature swarms will begin to form later this month.

“Swarming will continue throughout December due to the widespread hatching and banding that occurred last week,” the statement read in part.

In addition, the organization added that the formation of the hatching and jumper band could be expected in early December, and called on the government to take measures to control locusts.

Insects are harmful to crops and can interfere with food security.

On Saturday, Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture Peter Munya said the government had plans to control locusts once the swarms attacked the country.

In early March, Kenya and several countries in the Horn of Africa, including Ethiopia, Somalia and Uganda, experienced the worst locust attack in seven years.

The invasion affected 28 counties.

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