5. Kenya: Government preparing to fight Desert Locusts (Business Daily)

| December 10, 2007

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The Kenyan government is preparing to use up to 10,000 litres of pesticides in an effort to control Desert Locusts, which are threatening crops and pastures in the country’s northeast.

Small swarms of Desert Locusts began attacking crops and pastures in the Mandera District last month. But a greater threat is posed by the eggs laid by these swarms, which are expected to develop into wingless hoppers this week.

Agricultural officers reportedly plan to attack the new wave of locusts in the hopper stage, before they develop wings and begin to swarm. As many as 30 vehicles and three aircraft will be used in the spraying campaign.

Herdsmen in the Mandera and Kalala districts of Kenya were warned last week to move their flocks out of the area so that they would not be exposed to the pesticides.

Romano Kiome is the permanent secretary in Kenya’s Ministry of Agriculture. He said the ministry is determined to combat the pest which could be devastating to the livelihoods of affected communities. Desert Locusts can destroy crops and pasturelands very quickly as adults eat as much as their own weight in vegetation each day.

Desert Locust swarms are also threatening the Tokar Delta region of Sudan, on the Red Sea coast.