The fight against desert locust swarms goes on in East Africa despite COVID-19 measures

In the Horn of Africa, Governments together with the United Nations are still tackling an upsurge in locust swarms, despite COVID-19 restrictions on the movement of people and equipment.

In Kenya, the Food and Agricultural Organization of the UN (FAO) is training farmers to use motorized sprayers to contain the pests.

But COVID-19 has impacted the supply of pesticides as global air freight has been reduced significantly in recent weeks.

Today, the swarms remain a serious threat to Kenya and its neighbours, with around 20 million people already experiencing acute food insecurity in the region.

Here’s Kenyan farmer George Dodds:

“The people in our community, the small-scale farmers, it’s a very big problem. For food security in Kenya especially after problem like coronavirus. How are we going to feed Kenya? All of our produce is for local consumption. I think everyone

needs to take this seriously and support everywhere you can, because it’s a very big problem, for Kenya as a whole.”

In a bid to help, FAO continues to promote locust surveillance by communities using a handheld tablet; this records and transmits data in real time to national locust centres and to FAO headquarters.

Since 2015, more than 450 of these handheld devices have been distributed to teams in northern Africa, the Near East and southwest Asia.