The worst desert-locust plague in Kenya in 70 years is threatening to spread further into East Africa, jeopardizing food security.
Swarms of the insects are already devouring crops and pasture in Ethiopia and Somalia, and they’re breeding in Djibouti, Eritrea and Sudan — all areas that are prone to drought and food shortages. There’s a high risk they may soon enter northeast Uganda and southeast South Sudan, the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization said Friday.
In Kenya, the locusts have mainly ravaged pasture, putting livestock production at risk, Hugo de Groote, an agricultural economist with the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center, said by phone. There is a need to monitor and control the insects to ensure swarms don’t reach the more southerly counties that grow corn, tea and coffee, he said.