Favourable weather prolongs locust menace in horn of Africa – FAO

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

In a statement issued in Nairobi on Wednesday, Mr 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.

Read also FAO warns lack of funds could stall the locust fight in East Africa

“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.

Read also Zimbabwe braces for impact as second wave of locust plague looms

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.

Read also Kenya: UN earmarks Sh164 million to combat locust upsurge

“For 2021, we need 80 million U.S. dollars to control the insects,’’ said Mr 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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