Locust plague threatening food security in East Africa

The spread of desert locusts has left around one million Ethiopian people in need of emergency food relief.

    2020/05/01

NSFW    EAST AFRICA — East African countries could be facing a food crisis as waves of locusts have hit crops in the region since the end of 2019, according to a report by the Globe and Mail. A third wave of the insects is expected to hatch and spread in June and July.

Just one locust can travel 150 kilometers in 24 hours and is capable of eating its own weight in crops each day.

A small swarm of locusts, which would be around 40 to 80 million, can cover about a square kilometer and eat the same amount of food consumed by 35,000 humans in a day.

On top of crops being impacted by the waves of locust plagues, Stephanie Hanson, senior vice-president of One Acre Fund, told the Center for Strategic and International Studies that farmers' incomes have also been affected due to restrictions put in place during the pandemic, which limit their capacity to sell food in local markets.

The pandemic has also made it difficult for farmers to get rid of the locusts. Hanson noted that pilots in Kenya who fly pesticide aircraft are required to land at local airports before the national curfew is lifted.
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