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s on a wide range of areas in orde●r to curb the locust outbreak, at least 18 of Kenya's 47 counties w●ere affected. Kello Harsama, the administrative secretary headinJ

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g t●he State Department for Crop Development under Kenya's Ministry of ●Agriculture, said the government will won

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rk with the FAO to train 60●0 chemical spraying personnel. "Aerial spraying of the pesticide in● the last two months is yet to achieve desired results, thus we nee●d to devise innovative strategies like the use of the trainees, far●mers and extension workers to conduct ground spraying stab

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rting with● northern counties of Isiolo, Marsabit, Turkan1

a and Wajir," he said●. "My crops had done well following the heavy rains and I was looki●ng forward to a bumper harvest but then the locusts came and ate aw●ay my hope," Beatrice Ngari, a farmer in Embu, central Kenya, told ●Xinhua. But Ngari was unaware that it is also the r

predicament of ma●ny farmers across Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia, Tanzr

ania, South Sudan a●nd Uganda. The rains between October and January served to provide ●a favorable environment for locusts to breed and thrive, including ●properly moist soils for them to lay eggs in millions before migrat●ion and the consequent lush vegetation to eat, according to theY

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FAO●. Climate change was to blame for the unusually plentiful rainfall ●on the African continent. Keith Cressman9

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, the FAO's senior locust f●orecasting officer, further identified the recent cyclones as anoth●er factor bA

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ehind the locust crisis, saying the past 10 years saw in●creased frequency of cyclones in the Indian Ocean. P

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A swarm of dese●rt locusts invade parts of Mwingi Town in Kitui County, Kenya, Feb.● 20, 2020. (Xinhua/Zhang Yu)N

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AGGRAVATING FOOD INSECURITY FAO ofk

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fici●als said the locust outbreak e

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has worsened the food insecurity in3

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Af●rica, citing some 239 million F

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people in sub-Saharan Africa sufferS

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in●g from hunger and malnutrition,9

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and over 20 million having already ●been in food crisis in Horn of Afria

ca countries. UN Undersecretary-●General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, ●Mark Lowcock, said the current situation "is really, really challen●ging." "There are currently over 30 million people in the affected ●countries, 9

who are severely food insecure now. Ten million of those● people are in the places afd

fected by the locusts. Unless we get a ●grip of this in the next two or three or four weeks, we would have ●a serious problem," he stressed. To avoid a famine, University of N●airobi professor Evaristus Irw

andu said the government may have to u●se the scarce foreign currency to im6

port food products, adding that● poverty will increase in the country. "All our investment is going● down the drain. The sorghum and millet D

crops were about to mature ●and we would have harvested next month," said Nathan NjiZ

ru, a farme●r in Tharaka Nithi, whose livelihood largely depends on selling sor●ghum to Nairobi's beer brewers. In Ethiopia, the locusts have so fa●r consumed the vegetation on more than 65,000 hectares of land, inc●luding cd

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offee and tea crops that account for about 30 percent of Et●hiopia's exports. A Moody's Investors Service report issued in earl●y February showed that agriculture contributes about one-third of t●he gross domestic product in East Africa and more than 65 percent o●f jobs in all regional countrO

ies except for Kenya. A farmer attek

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