The threat of crop-destroying locust swarms remains for the Horn of Africa and some North African nations, according to the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and its new Early Warning Early Action report.
The United Nations agency has been monitoring the threat following “unprecedented spring breeding” that happened earlier this year in Iran and Saudi Arabia. Mature locusts were then seen in Yemen, where they crossed into southern Eritrea, eastern Ethiopia and northern Somalia, as well as Egypt by the end of June.
Lesser impacts and unconfirmed reports of locust breeding came from Algeria and Niger, the FAO said.
“There remains a moderate risk that small spring-bred swarms may have escaped detection and control in the Arabian Peninsula and could arrive in the summer breeding areas of the Sudan to lay eggs during July,” the FAO said. “Some swarms could move to the interior of the Sudan, while others could breed on the northern Somalia coast, in eastern Ethiopia, and on the Red Sea coast in Yemen and adjacent areas in Saudi Arabia because all of these areas received good rainfall in June.”
Small-scale breeding is expected to occur in Chad and Mali, as well as Niger, which is already listed as a high-risk nation for regional food insecurity along with Burkina Faso and Mali. That’s because of escalating security concerns and displacement that are edging toward other nations on the southern border.
Other African nations presenting food insecurity concerns are Somalia and Kenya, where crop yields are expected to be 50 percent below normal, as well as conflict zones in Cameroon.
The complete report is available here.
Image: World Economic Forum file