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Gov’t set to protect country against desert locust

By: Bullen Bala Alexander

The government has set to combat the outbreak of desert locust in neighboring Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya, which is likely to exacerbate the existing food insecurity situation. 

The desert locust is said to be moving towards the border of South Sudan from the East. Worry is that if it invades the country it will worsen the current food insecurity situation caused by floods, which devastated the country in the second half of 2019.

Yesterday, the national Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Onyoti Adigo Nyikwec, said the spread of the desert locust in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya was a serious threat to the food security in the country.

“We are worried about the possibility of desert locust spreading to South Sudan if no immediate precautions is taken along the borders with Ethiopia and Kenya.

“I would like to bring to your attention that a serious outbreak of desert locust is destroying crops and pastures across Eastern Ethiopia and North Eastern Kenya which pose a high risk of further spread into North East part of Uganda, and possibly South Sudan, through Kapoeta and Torit,” Odigo said.

He said the spread of locust into neighboring countries in the absence of immediate control measures is a high risk to the country like South Sudan which is struggling for peace and the same time suffering from floods.

The Ministry has formed a high level committee headed by the Undersecretary and with the membership of FOA, WFP, UNDP, World Vision and AGRA to mobilize resources to control the spread of desert locust to South Sudan from neighboring countries.

He said efforts are being made to train the people to go to neighboring states for monitoring the spread of desert locust.

“The Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security will be in coordination with Desert Locust Control Organization of East Africa for necessary support for preventing this from reaching South Sudan,” Adigo revealed.

He stated that the ministry is trying to alert the neighboring states and civil aviation for air space for emergency spraying of desert locust.

He said that there is need for immediate action to allow the use of drones to monitor the situation of the desert locust along the borders.

He called the development partners and all the friendly countries to support the government of South Sudan in controlling the desert locust invading South Sudan.

Historically the breeding site of the desert locust is in Eritrea and Sudan along the Red sea coastal shore. And from there, they migrate to invade the neighboring countries of which South Sudan is one of them.

Typically, the desert locust swarms can contain upon 150 million locusts per square Kilometers.

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