Dealing with locusts needs international cooperation

In Summary

• Only Turkana and Marsabit now threatened by locusts compared to 28 counties earlier this year

• FAO and international institutions have worked intensively to bring locusts under control in the Horn of Africa

Residents fend-off locusts from Kyuso in Mwingi North, Kitui.
Residents fend-off locusts from Kyuso in Mwingi North, Kitui.

The locust threat in Kenya has greatly reduced. Now only the counties of Turkana and Marsabit are at risk rather than the 28 counties that were infested earlier this year (see P27). 

This has been Kenya's worst locust infestation for 70 years.

The Food and Agriculture Organisation says swarms will still form in July before migrating to Ethiopia. However the government and FAO plan to spray the young locusts before then despite pesticide shipment delays caused by the Covid-19 lockdown.


The FAO has trained 500 NYS youth to work as spotters and hired helicopters and planes for spraying. Funding has come from multiple donors including the EU, USAID and DfID.

Desert locusts are an international problem. They initially form in Pakistan and north-west India and are then blown towards the Gulf and Africa, breeding and growing on the way.

International problems need international solutions. At a time when President Trump and other leaders are pursuing isolationist policies and denigrating international institutions, the largely successful effort to bring under control the locust infestation in the Horn of Africa is testimony to the need for continuing global international cooperation.

Quote of the day: "A computer would deserve to be called intelligent if it could deceive a human into believing that it was human."

 Alan Turing
The English computer scientist was born on June 23, 1912