Swarms of desert locusts fly up into the air from crops in Katitika village, Kitui county, Kenya Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. Desert locusts have swarmed into Kenya by the hundreds of millions from Somalia and Ethiopia, countries that haven't seen such numbers in a quarter-century, destroying farmland and threatening an already vulnerable region. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)

Locust infestation declines in Horn of Africa: FAO

ADDIS ABABA – Delayed rains in the Horn of Africa have helped to keep the locust population down, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said.

“As a result of poor rains in Kenya and Ethiopia, the swarms currently present in both countries are remaining immature and continue to decline due to ongoing control operations,” said FAO in its latest update on Thursday.

The agency noted that without rainfall, the swarms will not mature and breed, thus severely limiting the scale and extent of any breeding this season.

“The current situation is likely to continue for the remainder of this month as no significant rains are predicted to fall in northern Kenya, Ethiopia or Somalia,” said FAO.

For this reason, it added, there is cautious optimism that the current upsurge is winding down in the Horn of Africa, especially if poor rains continue to limit breeding.

The UN agency has also urged countries to maintain a close watch for any unusual developments.

Control operations are still ongoing across the region in Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya and Tanzania, according to FAO.