East African countries have been warned about a second locust invasion. The Kenya Ministry of Agriculture has said that this is likely to take place in the next one to two months. The swarms of locusts have spread to Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Somalia, Ethiopia and Eritrea. The eggs laid on the migratory paths are expected to hatch between March and April.
According to Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture Peter Munya, hoppers have between three to six weeks before they fly. He further added that his docket has put in place a plan with mobilised resources running up to June this year.
The government of Rwanda has since appointed a task force from the Ministry of Agriculture and Disaster Management to deal with the looming invasion. This is after the country’s Meteorology department projected that the desert locusts could land in the Eastern Province within two weeks.
So far, the locust invasion has affected
Mr Munya said the Kenyan government has already procured 600 additional sprayers. These will undergo training for a week before joining the teams on the ground. Ideally, Munya explains that the sprayers will be used on the locusts at the nymph stage before they fly, once the eggs hatch. He also mentioned that they are currently working to increase the aerial spraying and surveillance to 20 planes.
In Uganda, the government has set aside US $4.5m as a contingency fund to fight the locusts, and Tanzania, which has detected swarms in its northern border areas close to Mount Kilimanjaro, has hired three planes to spray them.
Kenya’s Ministry of Agriculture has allocated US $2.3m towards aerial and ground control operations, and the FAO has appealed for US $76m in emergency aid to tackle the locust threat regionally.