By Kenneth Afor
The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) wants the federal government to take proactive measures against a possible invasion of desert locusts across major farmlands in the country.
According to David Tsokar, national communication officer, FOA, at the moment, the country has not seen any sign of an invasion by the swarms but, wants the government to put in place necessary plans.
“Following the recent spread of desert locusts in some African countries, Nigeria has no immediate threat but control operations need to be scaled-up rapidly to forestall the spread to invade other countries. A single locust can travel 150km and eat its own weight as food about two grams each day,” he said.
Although, almost all the regions in the country are just coming out from the harvest season for some major food crops despite that, relevant agencies must be at alert for any possible invasion
Elsewhere, there has been an invasion of the swarms in their billion on farmlands in some countries in East Africa such as Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Uganda and Somalia and this is gradually becoming an epidemic in the region.
Tsokar assures of possible control of the invasion in the East African region at the beginning of March when the planting season will commence, but expressed fears of an escalation in the region if plans are not properly executed.
“We only have until the beginning of March to bring this infestation under control, because that is when the rains and planting season begins.
“The swarms are highly mobile; the terrains often difficult; the logistical challenges immense. But if left unchecked and with expected additional rains, locust numbers in East Africa could increase 500 times by June,” he warned.