Turkana farmers in fear over locust invasion

Written By: Judith Akolo
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Farmers in Turkana County are looking at yet another season of crop failure following an infestation by Locusts on their farms.

The locals, who are now calling for quick intervention from the national government, say the locusts are devouring all green plants on their path.

Turkana County has been in the throes of a food shortage occasioned by years and seasons of poor weather and drought.

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The invasion by the grasshoppers threaten to further undermine what residents hoped would be a recovery following the heavy rainfall that has been pounding several areas of the country.

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The Locusts from a species of short-horned grasshoppers in the family Acrididae that have a swarming phase are usually solitary, but under certain circumstances they become more abundant under suitable conditions of drought followed by rapid vegetation growth like it is being seen in Turkana County.

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Adult locusts are powerful fliers that travel great distances.

The Grasshoppers migrate only a few kilometres each day, basking in the early morning sun until their body temperature rises to a level which allows them to move off and eat all the vegetation in their path.

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A medium-sized swarm may contain a thousand million locusts and cover an area of 20 square kilometers, consuming over 3,000 tonnes of vegetation including agricultural crops, stripping off leaves and edible stems.

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