Locusts in Kenya could threaten the nation’s food supply if not controlled quickly, prompting experts to travel to remote corners of the country to try to find budding infestations.
Boris Polo, a Kenyan logistician on contract for the United Nations’ Food and Agricultural Organization, says the team can fight locusts by finding ones that are too young to fly.
Polo said he will call in a spraying plane on any marching ‘hoppers’ that cover an area at least 10 hectares across.
If left to grow, swarms of locusts can travel 200 kilometres a day, ravaging everything green that they encounter along the way.
They can also lay eggs to spawn a new generation of locusts. Once airborne, they are much harder to contain.
“Basically they will form big swarms and have the risk of going into the bread baskets of Kenya in the south and that will affect food production for the populations and the future of Kenya,” warned Polo.
The locusts do have some benefits – their faeces is a rich fertiliser and they don’t generally kill the plant.
But for people whose livestock rely on the plants, farmers further south worry about what locus infestations will mean for this year’s crop.
“These infestations are pretty serious. Kenya (in) 2020 has suffered already quite a lot with floods, of course COVID-19, and now the desert locusts infestations that we seem to be finding everywhere,” Polo said.