Households in East Africa Face Desert Locust-related Pasture, Crop Losses: IGAD Climate Center

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Addis Ababa January 13/2021 (ENA)  Food Security and Nutrition Working Group (FSNWG) assessment in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia found that roughly one-third of cropping households and a half of livestock rearing households experienced desert locust-related pasture and crop losses, according to IGAD Climate Prediction and Applications Center. 

The assessment interviewed 7,871 agricultural respondents across desert locust-affected areas of the region between October and early December 2020, according to a press release of IGAD Climate Prediction and Applications Center.

For impacted households, desert locust losses were often quite large, more specifically about  7 out of every 10 impacted cropping and livestock-rearing respondents experienced high or very high losses to their crops and rangeland, it added.

Food insecurity among the interviewed agricultural respondents was found to be high, the statement further pointed out.

Desert locust affected respondents also commonly expressed concerns that the locusts were driving increased food insecurity or malnutrition, emotional stress and anxiety, issues relating to animal and human health, environmental impacts, and high costs of control.

In Ethiopia, the highest prevalences of food insecurity were observed in ten administrative areas in Ethiopia, namely Nogob, Jarar, Shabelle, Korahe, Borena, West Harerge, Doolo, Siti, Fafan, and South Omo.

Additionally, major deterioration in food insecurity amongst agricultural households were found between Round 1 (conducted in June/July) and Round 2 (conducted in October/November/December) in Awdal, Galgaduud, and Woqooyi Galbeed in Somalia; and in Guji, Harari, Korahe, Siti, and South Omo in Ethiopia. Given already high levels of food insecurity, current challenges to crop and livestock production threaten to drive further food security deterioration, the release elaborated. 

Swarms of desert locust arrived in Ethiopia from Yemen and Somaliland in June 2019.

Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya were struggling to control the desert locusts which ravaged crops and posture lands through aerial and ground operations in collaboration with partners.