Desert locust swarms threaten Sudan
KHARTOUM (20 Nov.) - Desert locusts are gathering north-west of Khartoum and along the Atbara river. The swarms, expected to move towards the Red Sea coast, are a potential danger to crops in the next few months.
Clouds of locusts can finish-off the remaining crops. Ground teams in Sudan have treated more than 2,200 hectares so far in November. However, more adult locust swarms are expected to move from the interior to the Red Sea coast in the coming weeks.
The warning comes from the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in its Locusts Watch, a monitoring programme that watches the grasshopper population. The same potential danger exists in in Eritrea. Ground teams are treating hopper infestations in cropping areas on the Red Sea coast near Shelshela, and there are unconfirmed reports of locusts further north near the Sudanese border. Across the Red Sea in Yemen the FAO has detected the same problem.
In Sudan young ghoppers and adults are forming groups in those areas that remain green after the summer rains. A swarm of locusts covering a square kilometer can eat between 80 and 160 tons of crops a day, the FAO calculates. An adult desert locust can eat its own weight of about 2 grammes daily.