The Ministry of Agriculture said it has been taking preventive measures to control the spread of the desert locust within and outside of Afar and Somali regional states.
It has to be recalled that FAO has dispatched an alert in July, 2019 that desert locust summer breeding, amplified by heavy rains could pose a serious threat to agricultural production in Yemen, Sudan, Eritrea, parts of North Somalia.
The desert locust, which migrated from Somalia and Yemen, has been spotted across different parts of Ethiopia, mainly in parts of Afar, Amhara, Somali, Tigray, Oromia and Dire Dawa.
However, due to the weather in Amhara, Tigray, Oromia and Dire Dawa, the locust has currently retreated to Afar and Somali regional states, said Belay Fentanew, Plant Protection Acting Team Leader at the Ministry.
The swarm has caused no serious damages on crops but ravaged grasses and shrubs in those areas.
The Ministry has intensified its efforts to control the desert locust from breeding in the areas supported by aircrafts, he said.
To date, the Ministry has reportedly used about 2,693 liters of chemicals to control the locust, which covers 42 woredas in Afar and Somalia regions and the prevention is successful in most of the wordas, he said.
“We anticipate that there will be a threat on animal fodder, furthermore, we can’t measure the damage right now. Currently we are massively engaged on the controlling of the swarm and we will conduct an assessment which would let us know the level of the loss”, he said.
Belay underscored that preventing the desert locust from invading neighboring areas is the other major work currently undertaken by the Ministry.
The Ministry is working with regional governments, agricultural bureaus and farmers in Tigray, Amhara and Oromia regions to prevent the advancement of the locust, he said.
“In addition to Afar and Somali regions which the swarm has currently invaded, neighboring woredas and regional states are very vulnerable and we have alerted those regions.Collaboration is very necessary in this stage, so I urge regional governments and experts to conduct timely assessments and inform any situation of swarm, and the federal government is ready to offer material support and we also deployed our experts in the vulnerable areas”, he said.
The team leader urged that high level of collaboration from all stakeholders including farmers is necessary to end the threat of the desert locust at its early stage.
According to FAO, the grasshopper have produced hopper bands that covered more than 174 square kilometers and are consuming approximately 87,000 metric tons of green vegetation every day. It is estimated that about 30 million hoppers can land on one-kilometer square area./ENA news