Turkey, Politics

Food crisis looms as locusts invade northern Kenya

Some 70,000 hectares of farmland in Somalia, Ethiopia already decimated by locust swarms

Andrew Wasike   | 31.12.2019
Food crisis looms as locusts invade northern Kenya File Photo - Women gather at Marsabit county in Nairobi, Kenya on February 23, 2017. They gather to sell their animals to save them from being killed by the drought affecting East Africa, the government purchased the animals and slaughters them, after that they give back the same meat to the starving population, one goat per family. ( Magdalene Mukami - Anadolu Agency )


Northern Kenya is facing looming starvation after a recent invasion by locusts that originated from neighboring Somalia, officials said Tuesday.

Local authorities from the Wajir County Department of Agriculture told reporters that the locusts, coming from southern Somalia "moved around for close to two hours before settling eight to 10 kilometers away from Kutulo town."

Kutulo is roughly 45 kilometers (28 miles) from the Kenya-Somalia border.

Farmer Hassan Ahmed, 44, told Anadolu Agency: "The locusts have destroyed ready farm produce. The rains have been good and we have grasslands for our animals, but the locusts eat anything they find as long as its green."

Like many residents of the Wajir and Mandera counties who are mostly pastoralists, Ahmed said that the locusts were eating all the grass meant for the animals. "No pasture means a loss to our livelihood, we can't get enough milk from our animals and eventually they will die," he said.

According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) an outbreak of desert locusts in Somalia destroyed thousands of hectares of crops in, the worst such incident in over 25 years.

In a statement, the FAO said desert locusts continue to breed in Galmudug, Puntland and Somaliland, warning that an estimated 70,000 hectares of land have been infested by the insects, damaging crops and pastures in Ethiopia and Somalia.

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