Desert Locust Becoming Uncontrollable in Ethiopia

By Staff Reporter

Desert-Locust-EthiopiaNovember 8, 2019 ( -- Large swarms of desert locusts are increasingly spreading in northern and eastern parts of Ethiopia, becoming uncontrollable despite ground and aerial operations.

The desert locusts, which migrated from Somalia and Yemen, have occurred across different parts of Ethiopia, mainly in parts of Afar, Amhara, Somali, Tigray, Oromia, and Dire Dawa.

The counter operations are underway by individual regional governments and, so far, Tigray regional state managed to deal with the locust invasion in a traditional way after the locust caused insignificant damages.

The desert locusts have invaded wider areas in Amhara regional state, partly causing crop, pasture and forest cover losses, the regional government’s agricultural bureau said

The bureau said it is working to contain the locust invasion and, according to reports from the Ethiopian Ministry of Agriculture, the desert locust invasion is causing incalculable green vegetation losses and it called for substantial support to undertake massive control and preventive measures.

The swarms consume approximately 8,700 metric tons of green vegetation every day. It is estimated that about 30 million hoppers can land on a one-kilometer square area.

 “Urgent control operations are required to manage the situation and protect the livelihood of the population in the region," the bureau added.

The traditional way of getting rid off the locust involves disturbing the swarms by shouting, producing high sounds using different methods.

The locust has destroyed sorghum crops on 35,000 hectares of land in Raya Kobo where students, government officials, farmers, police are collecting the crops before the swarm's damage crops on neighboring areas.

It appeared that some swarms have started to move southeast affecting north and south zones of Wello where the landscape became difficult for aerial operations.

Farmers in South Wello zone of the Amhara regional state has called on the government to deploy chemical spraying helicopters in their places as their effort to protect crops from the locust in traditional ways brought about no result. The government on its part said the geographical landscapes of the areas are not suitable enough to deploy chemical spraying helicopters.

Similarly, the locust has destroyed crops on 14 hectares of land in east Hararge of Oromia regional state. Close to 26,000 students, farmers, and others were involved to prevent the crops from damage by the locust in the Wello zone.

Crops protection team leader of the east Hararge zone Zeleke Abdissa said the desert locus has already spread to 57 localities of 7 districts of the zone.

According to the team leader, the locust caused loses on crops, grazing land, forests, grasses, and other plants on 14 hectares of land in Kombolcha, Jarso, Meta, Gorugutu, Chinakson districts.

In July 2019, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warned that Desert Locust summer breeding, buoyed by heavy rains, could pose a serious threat to agricultural production in Yemen, Sudan, Eritrea, parts of Ethiopia and northern Somalia.

The organization also called on all countries to monitor the field conditions by mounting regular ground surveys and undertaking the necessary control measures whenever infestations were detected.

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