Without steady supply of pesticides, Africa faces food security ‘disaster’ caused by resurgent locust swarms

new larger wave of locusts threatens millions in africa
A swarm of desert locusts flies over a ranch near the town of Nanyuki in Laikipia county, Kenya, February 21, 2020. Picture taken February 21, 2020. REUTERS/Baz Ratner/File Photo

The locust is considered the most deadly migratory parasite and a single swarm covering a square kilometer can be made up of 80 million specimens. According to FAO estimates, the number of locusts could increase by another 20 times during the imminent rainy season, unless monitoring activities are intensified.

“The current situation represents an unprecedented threat to food security and livelihoods and could result in further suffering, migration and social tensions, ” warns the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, announcing that despite the restrictions on the movement of personnel and equipment following the Covid-19 pandemic continue FAO’s efforts to contain the resurgence of locusts in East Africa.

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However, Covid-19 had consequences on the supply of sprayers and pesticides. “The biggest challenge we are facing at the moment is the supply of pesticides and we are undergoing delays, as global air transport has been drastically reduced” – said [Cyril Ferrand, head of the FAO resilience team for East Africa]. “Our absolute priority is to prevent the exhaustion of stocks of pesticides in every country . It would be a disaster for rural populations: their livelihoods and food security depend on the success of our monitoring.”

[Editor’s note: This article was published in Italian and has been translated and edited for clarity.]

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