• te, adequate countermeasures and intensifie●d international efforts. A swarm of desert locusts invade parts of● Mwingi Town in Kitui County, Kenya, Feb. 20, 2020. (Xinhua/Zhang Y●u) EAT AWAY HOPE The locust outbreak is the worst in 1

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    70 years in Ke●nya, and the worst in 25 years in Somalia and Ethiopia, where the i●nsects bred before spre1

  • ading to Kenya and other countries. In Kenya●, locust swarms were seen to move like huge dark clouds before desc●ending on farms, nibbling away pasture, maize, khat, cowpeas, beans● and other crops in hours. Areas like 6

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    Mandera and Isiolo in the nor●th, and Tharaka Nithi in central Kenya, were attacked again after a●erial chE

  • emical pesticides spraying. Although the government has spr●ayed pesticide and other chemicals on a wide range of areas in orde●r to curb the locust outbreak, at least 18 of Kenya's 47 counties w●ere affected. Kello Harsama, the administrative secretary g

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    heading t●he State Department for Crop Development under Kenya's Ministry of ●Agriculture, said the govern4

  • ment will work with the FAO to train 60●0 chemical spraying personnel. "Aerial spraying of the pesticide in● the last two months is yet to achieve desired results, thus we nee●d to devise innovative strategies like the use of tg

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    he trainees, far●mers and extension workers to conduct ground spraying starting with● northern counties ofg

  • Isiolo, Marsabit, Turkana and Wajir," he said●. "My crops had done well following the heavy rains and I was looki●ng forward to a bumper harvest but then the locusts came and ate aw●ay my hope," Beatrice Ngari, a farmer in Embg

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    u, central Kenya, told ●Xinhua. But Ngari was unaware that it is also the predicament of ma●ny farmers acrk

  • oss Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia, Tanzania, South Sudan a●nd Uganda. The rains between October and January served to provide ●a favorable environment for locusts to breed and thrive, including ●properly moist soils for them to lay 1

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    eggs in millions before migrat●ion and the consequent lush vegetation to eat, according to the FAO●. Clima5

  • te change was to blame for the unusually plentiful rainfall ●on the African continent. Keith Cressman, the FAO's senior locust f●orecasting officer, further identified the recent cyclones as anoth●er factor behind the locust crd

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    isis, saying the past 10 years saw in●creased frequency of cyclones in the Indian Ocean. A swarm of dese●7

  • rt locusts invade parts of Mwingi Town in Kitui County, Kenya, Feb.● 20, 2020. (Xinhua/Zhang Yu) AGGRAVATING FOOD INSECURITY FAO offici●als said the locust outbreak has worsened the food insecurity in Af●rica, citing some 239 mQ

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    illion people in sub-Saharan Africa sufferin●g from hunger and malnutrition, and over 20 million having alrw

  • eady ●been in food crisis in Horn of Africa countries. UN Undersecretary-●General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, ●Mark Lowcock, said the current situation "is really, really challen●ging." "There arK

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    e currently over 30 million people in the affected ●countries, who are severely food insecure now. Ten millv

  • ion of those● people are in the places affected by the locusts. Unless we get a ●grip of this in the next two or three or four weeks, we would have ●a serious problem," he stressed. To avoid a famine, University of N●airobi professor Evaristus Irandu said thT

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    e government may have to u●se the scarce foreign currency to import food products, adding that● poverty wi4

  • ll increase in the country. "All our investment is going● down the drain. The sorghum and millet crops were about to mature ●and we would have harvested next month," said Nathan Njiru, a farme●r in Tharaka Nithi, whose livelihog

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    od largely depends on selling sor●ghum to Nairobi's beer brewers. In Ethiopia, the locusts have so fa●r coP

  • nsumed the vegetation on more than 65,000 hectares of land, inc●luding coffee and tea crops that account for about 30 percent of Et●hiopia's exports. A Moody's Investors Service report issued in earl●y February showed that agriculture contributes about one-tht

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    ird of t●he gross domestic product in East Africa and more than 65 percent o●f jobs in all regional countrd

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