Crops worth US $280 million saved from locusts

Updated: Mar 26, 2021

With funding from the international community, aerial and ground operations control have treated almost half a million hectares of crops against desert locusts across the Greater Horn of Africa and Yemen including 28 930 hectares in Somalia in 2020. By the June harvest, this effort saved US $280 million worth of crops ensuring over 6 million people in the region will meet their annual cereal needs, however there is much more to be done.

Dr Hared Nur, a Somali desert locust expert working with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to coordinate locust control operations in Puntland and Galmudug, says desert locusts can fly up to 150 kilometers a day and are wreaking havoc in a growing number of regions and countries. He says desert locusts are a highly mobile target so aerial control operations are the most effective tactic against locust swarms as they allow greater flexibility and can cover a much broader area.

“For the first time in 30 years the security situation in Somalia is allowing helicopter pilots hired by (FAO) to conduct locust control operations, spraying the desert locusts in Somalia and helping to save people’s food and livelihood sources. Aircrafts were flown from the United States of America in June and reassembled in Nairobi in Kenya, flown to Mogadishu in Somalia and then to Garowe in the Puntland State of Somalia where crops are being sprayed,” says Dr Nur.