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Kenya warned to prepare for second wave of desert locusts

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The government is confident it has enough pesticides, equipment and personnel to handle the second wave.

File picture: the Food and Agriculture Organization

THE UNITED Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has warned of a second wave of locust invasion in Kenya.

FAO said that hatching and hopper band formation can be expected in early December.

In a statement on Sunday, FAO said: “During the past week, strong northerly winds have carried small mature (yellow) swarmlets south from southern Somalia to north-east and eastern Kenya.”

The UN agency said that control operations were under way against small hopper bands that were forming from local breeding in Samburu County.

Currently, some swarms of the desert locust have been spotted in Taita Taveta County.

FAO has called on the Kenyan government to take measures to control the locusts, which are harmful to crops and may interfere with food security.

Agriculture cabinet secretary Peter Munya said the government has put measures in place to control the locusts once the swarms attack the country, the Standard reported on Sunday.

“Our projections are that the country will be hit by a second wave of desert locust invasion by mid-December, but we have put in place measures to contain them. We have enough pesticides, equipment and personnel to handle the second wave,” Munya said.

According to FAO, from the second week of December onwards, several waves of numerous swarms can be expected to move south in Somalia and Ethiopia.

In early March, Kenya and a number of countries in the Horn of Africa, including Ethiopia, Somalia and Uganda, experienced the worst locust attack in seven years.