Kenya: FAO Warns of Desert Locust Invasion in Kenya From Mid December

Desert locust swarm (file photo).
7 December 2020

Nairobi — Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) has warned that there will be an intense invasion of desert locust in Kenya from mid-December stretching to January.

The UN agency noted that substantial breeding and large numbers of hopper bands continue to develop within a vast area of eastern Ethiopia and central Somalia before migrating into northern and central counties in Kenya.

"Large numbers of hopper bands continue to develop within a vast area of eastern Ethiopia and central Somalia where ground and aerial control operations are in progress. Immature swarms will start to form this week and increase during the remainder of December and into January," FAO said.

The Desert locust invaded the country in early March spreading into 28 counties in what has been described as the worst outbreak in 7 years.

It was part of the outbreak that ravaged Horn of Africa countries including Ethiopia, Somalia and Uganda

The body has warned that Kenya should exercise extreme vigilance and preparedness while intensive survey and control operations continue in Ethiopia and Somalia.

"From mid-December onwards, successive waves of immature swarms are expected to migrate south to southeastern Ethiopia and southern Somalia and invade northeast Kenya, spreading to northern and central counties. Intensive survey and control operations should be maintained in Ethiopia and Somalia while extreme vigilance and preparedness are required in Kenya," the UN agency said.

FAO further noted that few small mature swarms are still arriving in northeast and east Kenya including coastal areas near Lamu while egg-laying has already taken place near the Tana River.

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya had in November said the government had put in place plans to control the locusts once the swarms attack the country.

"Locusts are breeding in Ethiopia. It is projected that they might cross into Kenya around December. We are aware and therefore, prepared for the second attack. We have enough pesticides, equipment, and personnel to handle the second wave," Munya said while responding to a similar warning by FAO.

The UN agency had warned of a second wave of locust invasion adding that control operations were underway against small hopper bands that are forming from local breeding in Samburu County,

"Breeding continues in central Somalia and eastern Ethiopia where hopper bands are present, and a new generation of immature swarms will start forming by the end of this month. Swarm formation will continue throughout December because of widespread hatching and band formation that occurred this past week," the agency had said.

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