By Staff Reporter
August 21, 2019 (Ezega.com) -- East African Desert Locust Prevention and Controlling Institute said desert locust has hit parts of Afar, Ethiopian Somali, Western Oromia, north Wello of Amhara state, as well as Dire Dawa city in eastern Ethiopia.
Desert Locusts are short-horned grasshoppers that can form large swarms and consume crops, causing a serious risk to agricultural production, livelihoods, food security, and the environment and economic development.
FAO recently alarmed on desert locust outbreak in East African countries and Saudi Arabia induced by heavy rains.
“In our field assessment, we have found adult locusts which migrated from Yemen,” Zebdios Selato, director of the institute, who is one of the experts who travelled to the locust-affected areas told Ezega on Wednesday.
Though swarms of locust have not yet caused any damage to the crops, it has high possibility of breeding under this rainy season, so strict monitoring and early control is needed to prevent further swarms forming and spread to the rest of the country, Zebdios said.
According to Zebdios, the desert locust crossed to Afar region of Ethiopia from Somaliland on June 23, but it did not expand to other places due to dry climatic condition. This time around, the desert Locusts is spreading to other areas following wet weather conditions and green vegetation which created favorable condition to multiply.
The desert locust can fly up to 150 km a day with the wind and a group of experts has been sent to the affected areas, Zebdios added.
“It is confirmed that the swarms didn’t cause any damage on yield crops, because, naturally, adult locusts cannot cause damages, but it has high probability of breeding and expansion throughout the country during rainy season, Zebdios said.
According to him, Ethiopian experts are aware of the possible risk of desert locust migration from Somaliland. So, the country needs to be vigilant and take measures in order to contain the vicious infestation.
The Ministry has also reached an agreement with the East African Desert Locust Prevention Organization to conduct aerial pesticides spray over the border areas between Ethiopia and Somaliland, Zebdios pointed out.
The Ministry of Agriculture has reportedly allocated about 19 million birr for the prevention and management of desert locust and other pests.
Zebdios stressed that strong communication and integration is required with The Desert Locust Information Service (DLIS) and neighboring countries to put the proliferation of desert locust under control.