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Desert locust likely head toward Uganda, South Sudan, Ethiopia

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Desert locusts that have been causing havoc in the East and Horn of African region are likely to move to Uganda, South Sudan, and southwest Ethiopia, a senior official at the Desert Locust Control Organisation (DLCO) said on Friday.

Stephen Njoka, director-general of the DLCO, said the insects that were reported in northern Kenya in December 2019 are now moving toward Baringo and Turkana in southwestern Kenya.

“The risk of spread to the three countries is very high given the limited control activities in some countries, and the high mobility and reproductive potential of the locust,’’ Njoka told newsmen in Nairobi.

He said that DLCO had projected to stop the locusts from moving further to Baringo and Turkana counties; however it appears they may move further into Uganda, South Sudan and southwestern Ethiopia.

“The DLCO and its partners are well equipped with pesticides and aircraft ready to manage the fast-moving insects.

“In addition to spraying, the partners have also trained relevant government officials from 20 counties in Kenya and will train additional teams next week,’’ Njoka said.

Bukar Tijani, United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation assistant director-general and regional representative for Africa, said desert locust invasion continued to threaten food security and livelihoods in the eastern African region.

“Efforts are being made to control the swarms and safeguard people’s livelihoods and food security, and avert further worsening of the food crisis,’’ he said.

According to experts, large swarms of desert locusts continue to destroy crops and pastures across parts of Ethiopia, Somalia, and Kenya.

Edited By: Abiodun Oluleye/Emmanuel Yashim

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