ADDIS ABEBA – Minister of Agriculture, Oumer Hussien, said at least five more spray planes will be deployed to fight huge locust swarms that are devastating farms.
This is after a spraying helicopter and plane crashed this month slowing down the effort to stop the swarms.
The minister said the swarms had spread to four regions in the country and were a threat to Ethiopia’s food security.
“Unless we manage these swarms where they are, they will scatter to different areas and continue damaging livelihoods,” Agriculture Minister Oumer Hussein told reporters on Sunday.
Additional five spraying planes will arrive in the country on Wednesday to intensify the fight against the increasing locust swarms, according to the Minister.
He said the ministry was in the process of identifying farmers most affected by the locust invasion – the biggest infestation in 60 years – and will offer them support.
Ethiopia currently has only five planes and two drones to survey and spray the entire country, according to the Ministry of Agriculture.
While the state treated about 57,000 hectares in September, government surveys show hundreds of thousands of hectares are infested.
Locusts can cover as much as 150 kilometers (93 miles) a day and a swarm of about 40 million to 80 million locusts will destroy crops sufficient to feed 2,500 people for a year, according to the FAO.
[Photo File/AP /Ben Curtis]