Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Locust Problems Intensifies in Ethiopia

AgReport -- Ethiopia has began spraying chemicals to battle growing swarms of desert locusts that were recently spotted in the far western Tigray and Amhara regions, officials said on Monday.

The UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warned that the numbers of desert locusts would grow unless urgent action was taken to kill the swarms.

"Unless control measures are carried out immediately there will be a great deal of destruction of crops," Yimer Assen of FAO Ethiopia, said. "The volume of the locusts is increasing and the problem we face is that they are migrating from one village to another."

Swarms contain millions of locusts that literally eat everything in their path. Each insect can eat its own body weight in food each day.

"They are very destructive in the amount of matter they eat in a day," Peter Odiyo, head of the Desert Locust Control Organisation of East Africa (DLCO), said.

"In a country already facing serious food shortages, that translates into a lot of damage to livestock, grazing areas and food crops in the field. They eat anything green," he added.


Swarms of locusts have invaded northwest Ethiopia, posing a serious threat to crops there and putting the region as well as the entire Horn of Africa at risk of further food insecurity.(AFP/File)

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