The current desert locust situation in East Africa, eastern Yemen and southern Iran poses a serious threat to food security and livelihoods in the coming months, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has warned.
Based on the FAO's locust bulletin until April 14 April 2020, swarms mature in East Africa, and the widespread rain that fell in late March is expected to cause a significant increase in locust numbers in those areas.
"The current situation in East Africa remains extremely alarming as more swarms form and mature in northern and central Kenya, southern Ethiopia and probably in Somalia. This represents an unprecedented threat to food security and livelihoods because it coincides with the beginning of the long rains and the planting season, FAO said in latest update.
" Although ground and aerial control operations are in progress, widespread rains that fell in late March will allow the new swarms to mostly stay in place, mature and lay eggs while a few swarms could move from Kenya to Uganda, South Sudan and Ethiopia. During May, the eggs will hatch into hopper bands that will form new swarms in late June and July, which coincides with the start of the harvest."
FAO also stated that more swarms are maturing in central and northern Kenya while a few swarms moving westwards to lay eggs soon. In Ethiopia, there are an increasing number of hopper bands, and swarms are maturing in the south, while new swarms formed in northern and southern Somali. It also confirmed that a mature swarm coming from Uganda arrived in Magwi on April 8.
About the situation in the Arabian Peninsula, FAO said that the control operations against early and mid-instar band near the Persian Gulf are in progress in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. FAO also expected a further deterioration in the situation in Yemen. Adding that control operations are underway against the hopper groups formed in Oman where a few small swarms seen laying eggs near the United Arab Emirate.
In Southwest Asia, FAO confirmed that spring breeding is in progress, and that the situation in Iran remains serious and worrying as an increasing number of hopper bands continue to form along the southern coast with a few swarms remain there.
It pointed out that that control operations are underway against hopper groups in Baluchistan, Punjab, and near the Indian border, while more adult groups forming in Baluchistan.