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Kade Doris Samson-CRN
Tuesday, February 18, 2020 - 13:31
The UN Food and Agriculture Organization or FAO has confirmed the arrival of desert locusts in Magwi, South Sudan on Monday at 12 o clock.
 
Locusts are the oldest migratory pest in the world. They differ from ordinary grasshoppers in their ability to change behavior and form swarms that can migrate over large distances.
 
They have a high capacity to multiply, form groups, migrate over relatively large distances. The insects can fly up to 150 km per day and if there is good rains fall and ecological conditions become favorable rapidly reproduce and increase some 20-fold in three months.
 
Speaking to CRN, FAO Country Representative, Meshack Malo says the food organization has sent a team to assess the size and nature of the swarm in Eastern Equatoria.
 
“There is a swarm of desert locusts that is positively confirmed. Initially, we were receiving reports, but there were grasshoppers; so today, we have sent a team to look at the intensity, the size and the nature of the swarm; so far, this swarm is mostly very dark brown; they are aged female but it seems they are going to probably lay eggs there”, Malo adds.
 
The FAO Representative says the most challenging part to deal with the locust is when they lay eggs.
 
“The female that are there will die in the next three to six days because they are aged, but the challenge is going to be how to deal with the eggs. When the new generation comes, is going to be more cost-effective to do that than to spray these once, which with chemicals which after six days they will die; and they are not eating a lot because they are aged and have been traveling a lot;” he explains
 
Malo mentions that FAO is prepared, but dealing with the eggs when they hatch will be very challenging.
 
He warns that it is very dangerous to the nation if nothing is done.
 
“The way they behave, they are going to attract another swarm; if nothing is done, that’s very dangerous because they are going to hatch; and the young ones will be eating a lot because they have to grow; and when they grow, they consume a lot and it is going to be very dangerous”, Malo adds.
 
FAO Country Representative says FAO and the ministry of agriculture will work together with the locals to train them and distribute the right chemical to collectively deal with the swarm by spraying.
 
Effort by CRN to speak to the ministry of Agriculture was not successful.
 
 

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