February 19th, 2020 (Thessherald)—The Minister of Agriculture and Food Security has confirmed the arrival of locusts in Magwi County, Eastern Equatoria State.
According to Onyoti Adigo, the desert locusts are now in Lobone, Magwi, Panyikwara and Owiny-kibul.
“On Monday we received a report that the desert locusts have entered South Sudan from Magwi County and we thought that it was the normal green grasshopper like it has been reported earlier but we sent our team with those of FAO and they confirmed the presence of the locusts in Magwi County in the area of Lobone, Owiny-kibul and Panyikwara,” the agriculture minister said on Tuesday.
The country representative of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) also confirmed the presence of the desert locusts. Meshack Malo says they are putting measures in place to tackle the locusts.
“Now in the preparedness, we have put together almost 1,000 back sprayers ready in which we are hoping to move tomorrow to the field to train young people so that we are be able to deal with them at the stage of the pupa. If we are not able to deal with them at that stage and they multiply, it would be a problem.”
Mr. Malo says the female locusts lay between 150 to 200 eggs.
“You can imagine currently we have about 2000, then there is a high likelihood that they will produce and will invite more females to come, that is what we are dealing with,” Mr. Malo added.
In February last year, the UN-Food Agricultural Organization issued an alert about the invasion of the desert locusts that was first reported in Yemen.
The locusts then spread to Somali, Ethiopia and Eritrea before crossing into Kenya and Uganda this year. Where they have crops and vegetation.
During the 34th extra-ordinary submit of IGAD heads of state and government held in Ethiopia a week ago, the regional bloc called on its member states to cooperate with the neighboring countries and exert more efforts to fight the desert locust invasion.
Experts have raised the alarm over the unprecedented swarms of locust that poses serious threats to food security and livelihoods in the Horn of Africa, including South Sudan.
But there were no coordinated responses from the region. The locusts travel by wind for at least 150-200km a day.
A swamp of locusts can consume the same amount of food per day as about 20 elephants, or 25 camels or 2,500 people.