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ut 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 predicament of ma●ny farmers across Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia, Tanzania, South Sudan a●nd Uganda. The rains between October and January served to provide ●a favorabl5

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e 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 the FAO●. Climate change was to blame for the unusually plentiful rainfall ●on the African continent. Keith Cressman, the FAO's seniorh



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andu said the government may have to u●se the scarce foreign currency to import food products, adding that● poverty will increase in the country. "All our investment is going● down the drain. The sorghum and millet crops were about to mature ●and we would have harvested next month," said Nathan Njiru, a farme●r in Tha2


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raka 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 65,2

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000 hectares of land, inc●luding coffee and tea crops that account for about 30 percent of Et●hiopia's exports. A Moody's Investors Service report issued in earl●y FebruM

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ary 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 countries except fN

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or Kenya. A farmer attemp●ts to scare away desert locusts in Mwingi Town in Kitui County, Ken●ya, Feb. 20, 2020. (Xinhua/Zhang Yu) INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION URGE●D The j


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desert locust swarms have travelled from Africa to Asia. Indi●a is suffering the worst hit in 60 years. "Today locust swarms are ●as big as major cities and it's getting 7

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worse by the day," said UN ●Secretary General Antonio Guterres, urging the international commun●ity to take immediate counteractions. Sacko Josefa, AU Commissioner● for Rural Economy and Agriculture, said earlier this month that th●e 55-member pan-African bloc is working directly with the FAO to ma●ke sure that there is no spread to other countries. Antonio Querido●, UN FAO representative in Uganda, said international organizations● are providing technical support 6


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and mobilizing resources for Ugand●a as it strives to fight the locusts. In order to get more internat●ional help, Somalia on Feb. 2 declared the locust infestation a natU

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●ional emergency. Irandu said that the present invasion is likely to● cost enormous financial and human resources far beyond the capabil●ity of the East African countries. Hence there is a need for a conc●erted effort by regional and other international organizations to o●ffer money, expertise and equipment such as plN

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anes. Otherwise, the ●locust invasion may wipe out food production in many African countr●ies. The FAO recently launched a 76 million U.S. dollars appeal to ●control thee

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