More spraying aircraft required to curb locust invasion – Ethiopian Govt

The Agriculture Ministry of Ethiopia has said that it would need more spraying aircrafts to contain the migratory red locusts that have ravaged many farmlands in the country.

According to the government, it had only one spraying aircraft as against the ten needed to curb the scourge.

Speaking to newsmen, State Minister for Agriculture, Mandefro Negusee, said that locusts have invaded parts of Somali, Oromia, Amhara and Afar regional states, Dire Dawa City Administration inclusive.

“The locusts are currently entering Ethiopia from Somalia, Djibouti and Yemen. But the invasion will be even more challenging as the swarms will continue to enter the country until the end of December.

“One aircraft recently collided with a mountain in North Gondar, another aircraft became dysfunctional, and the other two are under maintenance in Nairobi and South Africa.

“We literally have only one airplane sprayer in Kombolcha spraying at the moment,” Mandefro said.

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The minister disclosed that the only way to control their spread is via the use of a spraying aircraft, as the locusts fly 50 to 100 km daily.

He, however, stated that the physical structure of some of the invaded areas wasn’t fit enough to conduct either aerial or ground spraying.

He further went on to say that apart from the needed 10 spraying aircraft, 150 vehicles are needed to control the locusts.

Negusee also added that the ministry was trying to secure two aircraft from Sudan and is also processing to contract an additional two from the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

He disclosed that the Desert Locust Control Organisation for East Africa has backed out from supporting the ministry.

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