Viewpoint: Africa’s battle against locust swarms exposes folly of fearing pesticides and GMOs

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Credit: AP/Ben Curtis

Europeans are panic-buying in the supermarkets around the continent …. The retailers are being overrun, but the only real shortage is that of staffers bringing stock back into the shelves.

What is happening on the African continent at the moment, surpasses the wildest nightmare of any European consumer [fearing shortages caused by coronavirus], and should give us a moment to think about agricultural technology and crop protection.

Billions of locusts are swarming East Africa and parts of South Asia, in the worst pest swarm in 25 years. These insects eat the equivalent of their own body weight every day, giving them the potential to grow one hundredfold by the month of June …. [T]his crisis is set to affect a billion people by the end of spring.

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In order to fight these insects, farmers in Africa and Asia are using insecticides such as fenitrothion and malathion …. Environmentalist groups have slandered chemicals and their manufacturers in the media, misinforming the public over safety features and the reality of farming.

Without pest control, Africa and Asia would have had much more problematic food insecurities in the past. The solution lies in scientific research, and the abilities of farmers to use the tools they need.

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