Coronavirus outbreak: East Africa hit by second locust invasion as it battles COVID-19

Coronavirus outbreak: East Africa hit by second locust invasion as it battles COVID-19

Coronavirus outbreak: East Africa hit by second locust invasion as it battles COVID-19 313 161 VISFER

Efforts to contain an upsurge of swarming locusts in East Africa continue despite restrictions on movement and equipment imposed by governments as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The outbreak of the novel coronavirus has also had an impact on the supply of motorized sprayers and pesticides as global air freight has reduced significantly and restrictions, which poses problems particularly for small-scale farmers and food supply.

Widespread rainfall which started in March is expected to produce a dramatic increase in locust numbers in East Africa over the coming months, with new swarms expected to move from Kenya into South Sudan and Uganda. In Kenya, the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) is training farmers to use motorized sprayers to contain the locusts.

The desert locust is considered the most destructive migratory pest in the world and a single swarm covering one square kilometre can contain up to 80 million locusts.