UN says South Sudan at risk of desert locust invasion

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Gregarious locusts congregate on some ground vegetation at Larisoro village near Archers Post, on January 21, 2020. - The outbreak of desert locusts, considered the most dangerous locust species, is significant and extremely dangerous warned the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation ,Monday, describing the infestation as an eminent threat to food security in months to come if control measures are not taken (Photo by TONY KARUMBA / AFP) (Photo by TONY KARUMBA/AFP via Getty Images)
Gregarious locusts congregate on some ground vegetation at Larisoro village near Archers Post, on January 21, 2020. – The outbreak of desert locusts, considered the most dangerous locust species, is significant and extremely dangerous warned the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation describing the infestation as an imminent threat to food security in months to come if control measures are not taken (Photo by TONY KARUMBA/AFP via Getty Images)

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on Tuesday said South Sudan is at a high risk of invasion by desert locust amid worsening food security situation in the country.

Meshacko Malo, FAO country representative, said assistance is urgently required to avert locust invasion and minimize their devastating impacts on food security.

“The immediate threat of South Sudan are from the two major points, one on the Kapoeta east area once given the wind that could migrate from the Kenyan direction and from the Ethiopian side that could migrate and attack the region of Renk area which is an important food basket of the country,” Malo said in Juba.

He said that the governments of Kenya and Ethiopia have tried to control the pests, though some were spotted 200 kilometers away from South Sudan’s Kapoeta region that is near the Kenyan border.

“Once we are in a fly situation then it is easy to move to the threat situation although we are still working with the colleagues in Kenya, particularly with government authorities and desert locust control organization that has planes that could respond to this fight,” said Malo.

Onyoti Adigo, South Sudan’s agriculture and food security minister, said the government has formed a high-level committee to support the coordination control measures, saying that the community awareness will soon commence where experts further train field level experts to facilitate the monitoring and control mechanism.

“These proactive steps and preparatory efforts ahead of the threat are crucial in the fight against desert locust,” Adigo said.

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