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Published On: Thu, Aug 2nd, 2018

FAO rules out global desert locust outbreaks in 2018

By Oscar Nkala

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (UN-FAO) says there is no likelihood of desert locust outbreaks in endemic areas of Africa, the Middle-East and the Indian sub-continents this year with locust numbers remaining insignificant due to low-scale breeding.

Image/christels via pixabay

In its latest edition of the Desert Locust Bulletin, the FAO said despite favourable breeding conditions in some areas, the global locust threat will remain low and insignificant in 2018.

“Only isolated solitarious adults were reported during July in central and eastern Algeria, southern Mauritania, Sudan and along the Indo-Pakistan border. Good rains fell during July in the summer breeding areas of the northern Sahel from Mauritania to western Eritrea and along both sides of the Indo-Pakistan border, causing ecological conditions to become favourable for breeding.

“However, current locust numbers are extremely low due to very poor breeding during the past spring and winter. It will take several months of good rains and at least two generations of breeding before locust numbers are likely to increase significantly,” the FAO observed.

The organization urged affected states to take advantage of the lull in growth to do regular surveys in summer breeding areas to monitor the situation.

In the Middle East, there is a possibility of breeding in southern and eastern Yemen, southern Oman and eastern Saudi Arabia following heavy rains during Cyclone Mekunu in May.

There is also a possibility of some breeding  in northern Somalia and parts of eastern Ethiopia, which were hit by heavy rains during Cyclone Sagar in May.

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