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Locust swarms on the decline in Kenya and Ethiopia

By Otiato Opali in Nairobi, Kenya | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2021-03-17 21:12

FILE PHOTO: A farmer picks locusts from his sorghum farm in Jawaha village near Kamise town Amhara region, Ethiopia, Oct 15, 2020. [Photo/Agencies]

The UN's Food and Agriculture Organization has reported locust swarms currently present in Kenya and Ethiopia continue to decline due to ongoing control operations and no breeding. In its latest situation update released on Tuesday, the organization said that in the absence of rainfall, the swarms have remained immature and are awaiting the start of the rains to mature and breed.

"So far, these rains have not yet started but showers may occur by the end of this month in some areas that could initiate breeding. Nevertheless, the seasonal predictions continue to call for well-below normal rains this spring, which could severely limit the scale and extent of any upcoming breeding," FAO said in the update.

According to the update, a few small immature swarms were seen in Kenya in the past few days between Mt. Kenya and the Rift Valley. In Ethiopia, immature swarms persist in the Ahmar Mountains east of the Rift Valley, but appear to be declining in the south. In neighboring Somalia, late immature hopper bands are present in the northwest and the northeast, where a limited number of immature swarms continue to form.

"There is cautious optimism of signs that the current upsurge is winding down in the Horn of Africa, especially if poor rains limit breeding this spring, followed by equally poor rains during the summer in northeast Ethiopia. However, it will be essential to sustain current survey and control operations in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia and maintain vigilance in case there is any unusual rainfall," the organization said.

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