Maize plants

Locust plague in East Africa

East Africa has seen the worst locust swarm for a quarter of a century, decimating crops and fodder for animals. This is largely due to a changing climate and higher rainfall than expected at this time of year. *

The wet conditions create the perfect breeding ground for locusts, and forecasters suggest that an increase in the frequency of cyclones, likely caused by global heating, may lead to more regular swarming in Africa.

So far, we are pleased to report that in the areas of Ethiopia, Uganda, Burundi and Kenya, where Send a Cow’s projects are based, none of our family farmers have been directly affected, but risks remain. Therefore, our teams will continue to monitor the situation.

East African countries have been warned to brace themselves for a second invasion in March or April, when the eggs which have been laid along the locusts’ migratory paths are expected to hatch. This could adversely affect the new planting season and subsequent harvests for farmers in the affected regions.

Given the scale, government authorities in Ethiopia, Uganda and Kenya are leading the response to the locust problem.

Should risks to our programmes increase, we will provide farmers with up-to-date advice on growing and protecting their crops while also protecting the environment.”

[20.02.2020]

*Climate Prediction Center’s African Hazards Outlook