FAO warns of growing desert locust threat in Niger and Mali

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locust invasion

The Desert Locust threat to pastures and croplands in Niger and Mali is growing after swarms of the insects arrived in the north of the two countries last month.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) says during the last three weeks, heavy rains fell in the north of both countries allowing the maturation of the locust adults that are now laying eggs. Keith Cressman, FAO's senior locust forecasting officer says hatching has started and will continue this month, causing locust numbers to increase further.

"If you can imagine that a locust swarm, a cloud of locust has billions of insects can eat the same amount of food in one day as about 2,500 people. So imagine if we have a number of swarms around in a particular country it can have a very significant impact on not only the agricultural production in that country, but on that countries food security."

Duration 27"

In late March, FAO warned that swarms were moving from Algeria and Libya. But, the agency says control operations were hampered by insecurity along both sides of the countries' borders. Consequently, the groups and swarms that could not be controlled migrated across the Sahara to Mali and Niger.

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