Kenya is experiencing its worst locust invasion for 70 years. The World Bank warns that regional locust swarms could swell current numbers 400-fold by June, causing livestock-related costs and damages of $8.5bn by the end of 2020. Pastoralists in Ethiopia, Sudan and Kenya will be worst hit.
The northern Rift Valley has been particularly hard hit, with a new generation of locusts emerging in June. “Hopper” bands, the stage of locust development before they fly, have been spotted in Turkana and Marsabit counties, as well as areas below Lake Turkana.
The FAO is predicting that many of the mature bands will migrate from Kenya in July. Wishful thinking? Many suspect the locusts will seek the warmer climates of South Sudan and Southern Ethiopia.
The much bigger issue remains the way in which locust eradication is being handled. We remain concerned at the pesticides being used and their impacts to livestock, wildlife, and people.
To date, there has been no response from GOK, Donors, or FAO for assessments on the environmental impacts of the Locust Management Program. This report highlights the dangers of the different chemical treatments.