June 23, 2009

Locust Swarm Ethiopian Agriculture

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said Tuesday that locusts coming from northern Somalia by the swarms are putting crops in Ethiopia at risk of being destroyed.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) "reports that locust swarms have been confirmed in seven regions in the country, including in areas where there is no previous record of infestation," a statement said.

"The government is expected to present a response plan specifying immediate and medium-term actions to be taken during the week," OCHA said.

OCHA added that 1,390 hectares of land in different regions, mostly in southeastern Ethiopia, have been sprayed in ground and air operations.

A community resistance to air spraying operations is challenging control efforts in Somalia, which is the country of origin.

Most of Ethiopia's 77 million people depend on subsistence agriculture to survive.  These crops have been hit in the past by successive infestations of voracious locusts that have consumed all the plants that get in their path.


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