IGAD Forecasts High Risk of Locust Swarms in East Africa

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Addis Ababa February 13/2021 (ENA) The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) has forecasted a very high risk of significant impact to both crops and rangelands in Ethiopia, Somalia, and Kenya due to the high numbers of locust swarms.

In a press release issued today, IGAD said there is a risk of swarms within Somalia to invade more crop and grazing areas in the northern part of the country due to wind movement and the search for suitable breeding areas.

According to the statement, Ethiopia’s crops for the Belg season which starts in mid-February are at high risk due to the high number of swarms which may lead to egg laying and higher locust numbers during the crop.

In Kenya, some central, eastern, and northeastern areas are currently in the short crop season, it added.

Vegetation conditions are lesser suitable to sustain big swarms due to drier conditions before the March-May rainfall. This has the potential of increasing locust numbers due to surplus vegetation made available, it said.

IGAD further pointed out that currently, the highest number of swarms have been reported in northern and central Ethiopia in a total number of 26 Zones, north-eastern, eastern, and coastal regions of Kenya in 17 counties and 9 regions of Somalia.

At this stage, hoppers have been reported in few locations showing low reproduction in the recent days, it said adding that this may change with the start of the expected rainfall season first in the northern parts of Eastern Africa, at end of February, and in central regions in mid to end of March.