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Monday, December 6, 2021

Samburu is the only County with locusts in Kenya, says FAO

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Kenya is locust free with only known group of swarms in Samburu County, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has announced.

FAO, Via Twitter on Monday locust invasion in Kenya has been contained adding that they are conducting surveys for any unspotted swarms.

“We remain vigilant and have also upscaled livelihood recovery.”

Delayed rains in Northern Kenya and the ongoing control operation meant the desert locust infestation could be contained at any time.

The Food and Agriculture Organization last week said the delayed rains are a blessing to the fight against the locusts because swarms need the rains to mature and lay eggs.

“If the predicted rains are poor in the coming weeks, this trend is expected to continue, which could lead to the collapse of the 2019-2021 upsurge,” FAO said in its latest advisory.

This mirrors the assertion by the Ministry of Agriculture that the infestation could be contained this month. 

FAO explained that during this year’s dry season, locust swarms remained immature for several months, longer than normal, a strategy they deploy to await rainfall to finish their maturation and lay eggs.

“While this may still occur in April, below-normal rainfall expected this spring would limit breeding to parts of northern Kenya and southern Ethiopia at a much lower scale than last year. If this is followed by poor rainfall this summer in northeast Ethiopia, then the desert locust situation should return to normal,” the briefing said.

Last week, government Spokesperson Cyrus Oguna said the swarms had reduced from 25 counties to about three.

The Food Security and Nutrition Working Group earlier this year laid bare the damage already caused by the locusts.

Its assessment found that about one-third of cropping households and a half of livestock rearing households experienced locust-related pasture and crop losses.

“For impacted households, desert locust losses were often quite large. More specifically, nearly seven out of every 10 impacted cropping and livestock-rearing respondents experienced high or very high losses of their crops and rangeland,” the assessment showed.

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