The Eritrean government on Saturday said that it’s undertaking strong measures to contend the adverse impacts of the desert locust outbreak as the swarm wreaked havoc across the Horn of Africa, threatening food security.
“As part and parcel of its robust programs of food security and in view of perennial threats of locust infestation, the Ministry of Agriculture has developed sturdy mechanisms of prevention and control of the scourge,” the Eritrean Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) disclosed in a statement issued Saturday.
The ministry also stressed that it has put in place ground operation systems of early warning for periodic monitoring of the locust breeding seasons, as well as the mobilization of manpower and several strategic outlays to survey and control breeding areas before the spread of a possible outbreak.
“Eritrea’s vast breeding area is a threat for itself and other neighboring countries. Throughout the years, MOA has designed effective strategies and action plans to prevent potential damage. The Ministry has also a contingency plan for broader operations,” the statement read.
Desert locust infestation has been rapidly spreading through the Horn of Africa in the past months, in which the unprecedented spread of the swarms have posed a serious threat to the region’s food security, according to the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO).
The Eritrean ministry of agriculture also stressed that its “giving primary focus to prevention of local upsurges as Eritrea’s geographical composition is conducive for pest breeding,” while undertaking “proactive measures to deter locust breeding at the initial stages and thereby eliminate resultant incursion of swarms to the hinterland as well as neighboring countries.”
“No locust swarms have ever spread from the breeding areas to other parts of Eritrea, nor to neighboring countries,” the statement quoted Huruy Asghedom, Director General of Agricultural Extension at the ministry, as saying.
Noting that Eritrea’s seashores are recession areas for some pests, the ministry stressed that its control and prevention initiatives envisaged restraining the spread of desert locust swarms through its Migratory Pest Control Units arrayed all over the areas that are prone to infestation.
The Eritrean Migratory Pests Control Unit had recently announced that desert locust control operation is underway in Eritrea’s Northern Red Sea Region, in which more than 32,000 hectares of land infested with desert locust have been treated effectively so far.