Locust Swarms Descend on East Africa’s Agricultural Heartland

Locust Swarm, cc Niv Singer, modified,, Flickr

The United Nations’ Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) is sounding the alarm on locust swarms in Africa.

According to a recent FAO report:

The current situation remains extremely alarming in three main areas: (1) the Horn of Africa, [where] there is an unprecedented threat to food security and livelihoods…; (2) locust infestations continued to grow along both sides of the Red Sea…; and (3) in southwest Asia, heavy rains fell on the southern coast of Iran where swarms were laying eggs, which… could cause a considerable increase in locust numbers.

The threat posed by locusts is nothing new. With their ravenous appetite, explosive fecundity, and ability to travel long distances (up to 100 km in a day), locusts have been the bane of farmers for as long as humans have been planting seeds in the earth. New techniques and pesticides have made them less of a scourge in modern times. However, changing ecological patterns appear to be opening the door for a comeback.

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