The scale of spring breeding of Locusts is expected to be limited because of the ongoing control operations that continue to reduce the number of swarms and the likelihood of poor spring rains starting in March, FAO announced.
As the report indicates, in Ethiopia, immature swarms persist in Oromia (East Harerghe, Arsi, Borena) and in the Southern regions (South Omo, Konso) including Southern areas of the Rift Valley where more swarms were reported.
However, the present situation in Ethiopia and the rest of the Horn of Africa differs significantly from one year ago. According to FAO, the current swarms are smaller in size and have not matured or laid eggs.
According to the Commission for Controlling the Desert Locust in the Central Region, intensive ground and aerial control operations continue to make good progress in reducing the number of swarms in Kenya and Ethiopia, especially in the absence of significant rains required to mature and breed.
In this way, spring breeding, expected to occur from March to June, is likely to be on a much-reduced level, considering that the latest precipitation predictions continue to call for unusually dry conditions.
The few swarms that moved to Northern Ethiopia (Afar and Amhara) region continued to Eritrea and reached the Red Sea coast, where they were controlled.
A report from the commission indicated that numerous small immature swarms persist in Northern and central Kenya, while swarms arriving from Ethiopia and Somalia have declined.
Last year, FAO reported that an estimated 20.2 million people are facing severe food insecurity in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Uganda, and Tanzania.
USD 312 million is needed for FAO’s rapid response and anticipatory action.
In Ethiopia, around 8.5 million people are highly food insecure due to the impacts of COVID—19, desert locusts, displacement, and high food prices, according to the Integrated Food Security phase classification (IPC).
According to FAO, One square km of swarm can eat the same food as 35,000 people in one day and increase 400 times in locust numbers in six months.