Locust invasion “extremely alarming” in Kenya, Ethiopia

The spread of dessert locust worm in Eastern Africa has continued posing severe danger to food production in Ethiopia and Kenya, as the latest UN agency shows. The current situation in East Africa “remains extremely alarming” as more swarms form and mature in northern and central Kenya, southern Ethiopia, said UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO).

“This represents an unprecedented threat to food security and livelihoods because it coincides with the early beginning of the long rains and the current growing season. A new generation of breeding is underway in Kenya where more eggs will hatch and form hopper bands during May, followed by new swarms in late June and July, which coincides with the start of the harvest,” it said in its update of the situation released on Wednesday.

● Kenya – More swarms mature in central and northern areas with a few laying eggs and hatching starts. Control continues.
● Ethiopia – Immature swarms in the south (Southern region, Oromia), mature swarms in North Oromia and North Somali regions; mid-instar hopper bands in east (Dire Dawa – Ayasha). Control continues.
● Somalia – Early instar hopper bands on the Ethiopian border in the northwest (Somaliland); scattered adults along the Ethiopian border in central areas (Galguduud).
In addition to East Africa, dessert locust worm is also becoming in many parts of the world from Iran to Pakistan, according to the FAO.

Breeding continues in several countries where hopper bands are forming that could lead to new swarms.
● Yemen – Increasing reports of mature swarms copulating in the interior where floods occurred this week.
● Saudi Arabia – Control continues against mid-instar hopper bands near the Persian Gulf (Nairyah to Al Hofuf) and in the interior (Hail).
● Iraq – Limited control continues against early mid-instar hopper groups in southern provinces (Kerbala and Thikar in addition to Al Muthanna, Al Diwaniya, Al Najaf).
● United Arab Emirates – Limited control against hopper bands on Oman border south of Al Ayn.
● Sudan – Calm situation, only a few scattered adults on coast and interior.

Breeding continues in the spring breeding areas where situation remains worrying in Iran.
● Iran – More hopper groups and bands continue along the southern coast; mature adult groups moved north in Sistan & Baluchistan to South Khorasan and lay eggs. Control continues.
● Pakistan – Hopper and adult groups in Baluchistan; hopper groups and bands in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa; hoppers near the Indian border. Control continues.