UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Saturday said immature swarms of desert locust continue to appear in six zones of Ethiopia’s Afar and Amhara regions.Currently the swarms occured in Afambo, Asayita and Dubti districts of Ethiopia’s Afar region as well as in North and South Wollo zones in eastern Amhara region, FAO said in a statement.
Plant Conservation Director with Ethiopia’s Ministry of Agriculture Belayneh Nigussie told local media that there is a risk that the swarms could continue to move further into Amhara and reach the Tigray region. Elsewhere, immature swarms are present in Oromia and SNPP regions.
“As conditions remain dry in some areas, the swarms are expected to disperse throughout southern and northern Ethiopia. Any rainfall that may occur in the coming weeks will cause swarms to mature and lay eggs that will hatch and give rise to hopper bands during February and March,” Belayneh said.
According to the director, intense ground and aerial control operations are in progress to reduce current swarm populations so that the scale of the upcoming breeding may be lower.
In Kenya, several immature swarms continue to arrive from the north, mainly appearing in the northeast and east, from where they are spreading west into northern and central counties. Swarms have now been reported in 11 counties (Mandera, Wajir, Garissa, Marsabit, Turkana, Samburu, Laikipia, Isiolo, Meru North, Meru Central, and Tharaka) compared to seven at the beginning of this week. So far, only a few swarms have started to mature. In the southeast, fledging is in progress near Taita Taveta, causing small immature swarms to form while a few late instar hopper bands are present along the coast.