Locusts threaten the coffee harvest

Locusts threaten the coffee harvest
Locusts threaten the coffee harvest

The locust swarms have crossed the border of South Sudan and have spread to the most fertile part of the country, according to the South African TV channel I-n-si-hey. Locusts entered South Sudan from Uganda, while most of the insects have settled in the southern part of Magwi District, which borders Uganda.

The appearance of locusts in South Sudan creates additional difficulties in providing the population of this country with food. Specialists are especially concerned about the fact that this month is the peak of the reproduction of these insects and the areas where they are now will become the epicenter of another outbreak of pests dangerous for agriculture.

The reproductive cycle of the new generation of locust lasts about three months. In favorable conditions, its number can increase 400 times. This is exactly what can happen now in East Africa. The locust has already spread to large regions of the Horn of Africa and East Africa. According to experts, due to its invasion, up to 25 million people were at risk of food shortages.

So far, attempts to control the number of locusts through preventive measures have not yielded the desired results. In Kenya and Uganda, aviation is used to spray pesticides, but there are not enough dedicated aircraft to effectively treat fields. In South Sudan, where the civil war has just ended, the situation is even worse - there are no chemicals to spray and sprayers, cars and special planes to deliver them.

Today, about 60% of the population of South Sudan is food insecure. The destruction of a new crop by locusts will only worsen an already critical situation.

The locusts have infiltrated not only the fields, but also the parliament. In Uganda, an MP from Ngora County brought a large jar of locusts to the parliamentary session, saying the government was hesitating to take measures to protect against insects. A scandal began in parliament when some of the deputies demanded that the chamber's guards take away the bank from the deputy and immediately destroy the locusts. After a skirmish, the can with insects ended up in the hands of the bailiff, who carried it out of the courtroom.

There were alarming reports from neighboring Kenya that locusts have attacked coffee-growing areas. Coffee is one of this country's most important exports on the east coast of Africa. About 70% of coffee is produced in Kenya by small cooperatives with several families. The total number of coffee-producing farms is about 160,000. In the event of the loss of a significant part of the next year's harvest, millions of people are at risk of being left without a livelihood. At the same time, even before the locust infestation, experts predicted that the upcoming coffee harvest would be the lowest in the country over the past 50 years due to a severe drought.

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