ADVERSE CLIMATE CHANGE to blame for the LOCUST INVASION.

By Anthony Blaize

[Photo Courtsey of EPA]

It was on July 2019 that the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) raised an alarm on possible desert locust’s invasion in the Horn of Africa region. Definitely the warnings were never taken seriously with the north eastern part of Kenya being invaded early this year. There were different school of thoughts as to why Kenya would usher in a new decade with locust invasion. Many saw it as a warning sign to the alarming corruption scandals that the country is witnessing day in day out. The locust came from Yemen passing through Ethiopia and Somalia before reaching Kenya. This is the worst locust invasion in Kenya in the past 70 years.

Locusts do not attack human beings but rather feed on crops and vegetation hence the immense destruction on vegetation and grass that animals are supposed to feed on.”

Locusts do not attack human beings but rather feed on crops and vegetation hence the immense destruction on vegetation and grass that animals are supposed to feed on. The effect of this will be a severe food shortage for both humans and animals in those regions with farmers having nothing to sell while the land is left bear with increased soil degradation and erosion.

A swarm of Locusts [Photo Courtesy of Nation Media Group]

Locusts that are solitary in nature but can come together to form a swarm with the current one containing about 200 billion locusts. The swarms can travel up to 150 kilometres per day with currently reports suggesting they have reached Machakos. A few of the affected places include Mandera, Wajir, Garissa, Moyale, Marsabit, Isiolo, Samburu, Meru, Laikipia and Kirinyaga.

The national government has embarked on using small planes to spray pesticides in order to deter the breeding and feeding of locusts.”

There are many school of thoughts explaining the locust invasion with scientists giving emphasis to the volatile climate change. In 2019 East Africa experienced heavy rainfall coupled with generally warm temperatures due to the proximity to the equator. The two are the best suitable for the breeding and metamorphosis conditions for the locusts. The national government has embarked on using small planes to spray pesticides in order to deter the breeding and feeding of locusts. There is increasing desperation among the locals as they are left to use twigs, branches and banging pans to scare away the locusts.

The government has cautioned citizens against eating the current swarms because it is impossible to know which ones have been sprayed with pesticide.”

Delicacy! Yes in some places like Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Uganda and some parts of Western Kenya the insects are cooked mainly by deep- frying and viewed as alternative sources of protein. However, the government has cautioned citizens against eating the current swarms because it is impossible to know which ones have been sprayed with pesticide.

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