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All Counties Except Samburu Are Locust-Free, FAO Announces

by Zablon Ondari
2 mins read

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has announced that all the 47 counties apart from Samburu are locust-free.

In a tweet on Monday, 26th April, the UN agency said the only known group of swarms is currently in the Barsaloi area of Samburu County.

“The team is conducting surveys for any unspotted swarms. Otherwise, the rest of the affected counties are now locust-free. We remain vigilant, and have also upscaled livelihood recovery,” said FAO.

Last week, FAO, which has been at the forefront in fighting the menace, said that swarms are declining rapidly across the Horn of Africa region due to the large-scale control operations mounted by governments and supported by FAO over the past 14 months, and poor rains.

“Swarms in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia remain immature and continue to become smaller. Without rainfall, they will not mature and breed. The upcoming rainy season that is expected to be drier than normal should contribute to a further decline in locusts,” the agency said in a statement.

The first swarms crossed into Kenya in December 2019, and invaded nearby counties. A total of 25 counties had been affected by the pests.

The counties hit by the destructive swarms are in Arid and Semi-Arid Land (ASAL) where most people are nomadic pastoralists who rely on livestock for living.

Kenya’s Mandera, Meru, Isiolo and Turkana counties were the most affected by the first wave.

Other counties are Embu, Tharaka Nithi, Samburu, Laikipia, Baringo, Marsabit, Garissa, Machakos, Wajir, Tana River, Kilifi, Nyandarua and Kitui.

According to FAO, this is the worst invasion in 25 years due to unusual weather and climatic conditions, including heavy and widespread rains since October 2019.

The locust control operations prevented the loss of 4 million tonnes of cereal and 790 million litres of milk production, protecting the food security of 34.2 million people and avoiding $1.54 billion in cereal and milk losses.

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