Desert locusts threaten crops

Crop-threatening desert locusts have been detected in Yemen for the first time this year, while small swarms continue to gather in the summer breeding areas of the Sahel in West Africa, warns FAO.

Despite control operations in Yemen, unusually good rains led to breeding in the interior. FAO's latest Desert Locust Bulletin forecasts that small swarms are expected to form and move toward the Red Sea during September as the area becomes drier.

Control operations continued in August against immature infestations in Algeria. But some escaped, forming swarms, many of which have now arrived in the Sahel.

Some swarms have reached southern Mauritania and laid eggs that have already hatched. And here, says FAO, local subsistence crops of millet and sorghum, which are coming up, could be at risk. Infestations have recently shifted from the southeast regions to the southwest.

In neighbouring Mali and the Niger, low densities of solitary adults were present in early August.

Sightings of adult desert locusts also increased along the Indo-Pakistan border, where conditions may lead to the formation of small swarms in the coming months.

10 September 1996

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