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Locusts Swarms Invade Warsheikh and Surrounding Areas in Somalia

Locust Alert

Locust swarms have invaded Warsheikh and surrounding areas in the Middle Shabelle region, residents told Radio Dalsan.

The swarms have also invaded farmlands in Bakaaroole, Shiiqyaale, Ruunsheegow and the neighbouring regions and were spreading fast.

Locals said it was the first time the locusts arrived in the area, though they previously had its presence in other parts of the country.

This comes days after locusts swarms destroyed farms Balcad and other Middle Shabelle towns.

Courtesy of allafrica.com

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Worst locust outbreak in 25 years in Ethiopia

Locust Alert

At the end of a tough farming season, Ethiopian farmer Leila Mohammed was looking ready to harvest her millet crop with a sense of pride.

As she was drafting plans and calculating profits, she saw gigantic swarms of locusts like a cloud approaching the fields. All her efforts of waving a piece of cloth to beating steel plates to drive the swarm away failed. Within minutes all the hard labor of months and money she had invested to grow crops were ruined by little monsters.

Residing in Somali province, 50 kilometers (31 miles), north of the regional capital Jijjiga, Mohammed with his six children is looking at a bleak future and starving days ahead.

“They have destroyed my crop. I do not know what to do. We have lost food and battle against desert locusts,” she told Anadolu Agency.

She recalls that it was like a giant tornado flying high in the sky. Then they lost heights, starting descending and devastated crops.

The region has seen a second such attack from insects last weekend during the current farming season.

“Just last week, this area was sprayed with chemicals and the swarms got paralyzed. But look at them, they have come again to destroy whatever little had been left,” said Siba Aden Mohammed, a local official serving at Awbare district of Fafen zone.

While moving around, telling devastation is visible. Farms, where crops like millet, wheat, and chickpea were standing tall and awaiting harvest are empty, with farmers cursing their luck in desperation.

A vast blanket of dark brown winged insects has covered huge tracts of farmlands. As farmers try to remove them, they fly but soon return to sap the last grain of crop left in the field.

According to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), since January, swarms of desert locusts have damaged over 200,000 hectares of cropland in Ethiopia affecting the food security of millions of people.

Courtesy of aa.com.tr

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New locust plague threatens crops in Eastern Cape, South Africa

Locust Alert

Farmers in the Eastern Cape have been fighting for survival because of the drought that has gripped the area for the past couple of years.

Now, they are fighting a new battle as a brown locust plague threatens their crops.

The brown locust outbreak has been reported in the Sarah Baartman and Chris Hani districts of the Eastern Cape.

According to the Department of Rural Development and Agrarian Reform in the Eastern Cape, about 127 farms have been struggling with it.

The department’s entomologist, Nolitha Skenjana, said: “The outbreak is in the Karoo parts of the Eastern Cape, where the insects are competing with livestock for grass. But if they are not controlled they might migrate to crops and vegetables.” She said spraying had started at the affected farms.

According to the department, the brown locust is an agricultural pest that attacks all types of crops, but prefers maize, grass and cereal.

Yesterday, Eben du Plessis of Agri Eastern Cape said it was still too early to say what the impact would be.

“They are moving east. They come from the Northern Cape and hatch at a drier area and start moving east. At this stage there’s not a lot of damage. Locusts go through about five stages of development and are currently walking. They hatch and find each other and create swarms. They do eat, but the damage is minimal.”

He said early detection was important in stopping the outbreak. “What’s nice about them walking now is you can spray them quicker because they aren’t moving fast. When they start flying through the day and with the predominantly north-west wind they move west with it up to 50km away.

“It becomes difficult to locate them. You have to wait for the weather to cool in the late afternoon, and as it gets darker they settle down for the night. That’s when you spray them.

“When they settle down they’ve doubled in size, are hungry and need more energy, and that’s when they do a lot of damage,” du Plessis said.

He said the provincial government’s efforts to spray the brown locusts were helping.

“This is a developing crisis. You can only see the impact once it’s done because they are hatching as they go. The maize is only getting planted now and is very small. The locusts have not hit the irrigation areas yet. In the last report they were about 40km away from the nearest irrigation scheme, between Middelburg and Steenberg.”

He said farmers couldn’t do much to protect their crops. “They can be vigilant and look out for locusts and report them to make sure they are sprayed. That is basically all they can do. In the past farmers have tried to burn tyres and old motor oil to create a barrier, but that’s not really effective.”

In September, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN warned that migratory locusts threatened the food security of around 7 million people in Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe. They said one swarm can contain tens of millions of adult locusts, and there were multiple swarms in the southern region.

A single swarm can eat as much in one day as 2500 people, demolishing crops and livestock pasture in a matter of hours.

Courtesy of iol.co.za

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Locust crisis worsens in Zambezi, Namibia #Locusts #Zambezi #Namibia #Africa

Locust Alert

The African migratory red locusts continue to destroy grazing areas and crops extensively in the Zambezi region and have now reportedly started to spread further to other areas.

The locusts were spotted early this month in the flood-prone areas of Kabbe North and South as well as Katima Rural.

However, Zambezi regional governor Lawrence Sampofu yesterday said more locusts are being reported in different areas and the situation is getting out of control.

He said while the matter has been reported to the agriculture ministry, they are still waiting for more manpower to contain the further spread of the outbreak.

“The situation is still the same. More locust swarms are being reported in different constituencies of Kabbe North and South, as well as Katima Rural. We are waiting for additional manpower,” Sampofu added.

The governor said although the ministry is busy spraying in some areas, they lack manpower and protective clothing.

He noted there is just one spraying team on the ground and it’s difficult to cover the three affected constituencies.

In August, another wave of African migratory red locusts outbreak was reported in the region and the agriculture ministry deployed a team of extension officials to spray the area.

The locusts’ outbreak in northeast Zambezi region was detected in August in the flood plains at Lusese, Nakabolelwa, Ibbu and the surrounding areas.

Courtesy of neweralive.na

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Locusts Now Threatening Parts of Southern Africa #Locusts #Botswana #Namibia #Zambia #Zimbabwe #Africa

Locust Alert

Locusts are threatening another part of Africa, with up to 7 million people in the southern region facing further food insecurity, the United Nations said Friday.

The outbreaks of African migratory locusts in Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe are not related to the huge outbreak of billions of desert locusts that has affected East Africa for months, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization said.

While far smaller, the southern outbreaks need quick attention to prevent a wider problem as farmers and others already struggle to recover from a serious drought last year and the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.N. agency said in a statement.

Swarms of the voracious insects “can eat enough food for 2,500 people in a day,” according to a separate Food and Agriculture Organization document on the southern Africa outbreaks. A single swarm can contain millions of locusts.

While all four countries have launched pesticide spraying efforts that have been called the only effective locust control, the work has been limited, the FAO said.

“The situation is aggravated by the inaccessibility and ecological sensitivity of some of the affected areas,” the agency said. A new emergency response initiative seeks environmental friendly pesticides along with other support.

One locust breeding area has been Botswana’s well-known and wildlife-rich Okavango delta.

The Botswana outbreak began in May, and the countries and the U.N. decided by late June that the outbreaks were a regional emergency.

“Some of the worst-affected areas are very difficult to reach,” FAO southern Africa coordinator Patrice Talla said.

Courtesy of nytimes.com

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Locust Swarms Ravage Crops In Kenya Again As Country Stares At A Food Crisis #LocustSwarms #Kenya #Africa

Locust Alert

Kenya has been hit by a second wave of locusts after billions of these tiny insects had already swarmed the country’s fields earlier this year. In the Turkana county, swarms of locusts have caused large-scale damage to standing crops, leading farmers to a state of despair over their near future. This locust invasion is being called by experts as the worst in 70 years. With 20% of standing crop damaged, the region is staring at a food crisis for humans as well as livestock.

The newest locust attack in Kenya will also lead to a dairy crisis since there may not be enough crop residue to feed the livestock. The region has already had a series of droughts since 2016 and the latest locust attack has prompted govt to carry massive aerial and ground operations to control extent of the damage. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization is aiding the government’s efforts in trying to restrict the damage and ensure that the affected communities get back on their feet.

Courtesy of zee5.com

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