East African

South Sudan prepares for locusts spread at borders


WINNIE ATIENO

By WINNIE ATIENO
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South Sudan has dispatched experts to borders it shares with Uganda and Kenya to monitor invasion of locusts.

Currently, 10 counties in Kenya are grappling with locust invasion. However, the wind that is blowing towards South Sudan could see the insects fly to the landlocked country. The desert locusts flew into Kenya from Somalia on December 28, 2019.

South Sudan’s Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security official Michaya Nasona at the Food and Agriculture Organisation has trained about 20 technical staff who have been posted in the country’s borders to monitor the situation. Mr Nasona said the weather and green vegetation is attracting the locusts.

“Those are the borders we expect the outbreak of the locusts to come through, but we are also closely monitoring the situation. Currently, the neighbouring countries are grappling with the invasion and South Sudan is no exception, the locusts are almost reaching our borders,” he said.

He said the government has already been informed about the locust invasion and its impact on food security.

Mr Nasona said the government is collaborating with partners and experts to prepare for the locust outbreak, adding that, “Farmers in some areas of the country had reported seeing the locusts, but we have confirmed they are not the desert locusts. The residents have not been informed on the differences between green locusts, green hoppers and the desert locusts.” 

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Somalia’s head of projects in the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation Mohamed Guray said the desert locusts have destroyed a lot of green land and pasture.

“We have done an assessment of the damage and the report will be released at the end of January,” Mr Guray said.

The IGAD Climate Prediction and Applications Centre director Guleid Artan urged countries to rely on meteorology to identify the direction of the winds.



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