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ng forward to a bumper 〓harvest but then the locusts came and ate away my hop〓e," Beatrice Ngari, a farmer in Embu, central Kenya, 〓told Xinhua. But Ngari was unaware that it is also th〓e predicament of many farmers across Kenya, Somalia, 〓Ethiopia, Tanzania, South Sudan and Uganda. The rains〓 between October and January served to provN

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ide a favo〓rable environment for locusts to breed and thriveM

, in〓cluding properly moist soils for them to lay eggs in 〓millions before migration and the consequent lush veg〓etation to eat, according to the FAO. Climate change2

〓was to blame for the unusually plentiful rainfall on 〓the African continent. Keith Cressman, the FAO's seni〓or locust forecasting officer, further identified the〓 r0

ecent cyclones as another factor behind the locust 〓crisis, saying the past 10 years saw increased freque〓ncy of cyclones in the Indian Ocean. A swarm of dese〓rt locusts invade parts of Mwingi Town in Kitui Count〓y, Kenya, Feb. 20, 2020. (Xinhua/Zhang Yu) AGGRAVATIN〓G FOOD INSECURITY FAO officials said the locust outbr〓eak has worsened the food insecurity in Africa, cit9

in〓g some 239 million people in sub-Saharan Africa suffe〓ring from hunger and malnutrition, and over 20 millio〓n having already been in food crisis in Horn of Afric〓a countries. UN Undersecretary-General for Humanitari〓an Affairs and 5

Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mark Low〓cock, said the current situation "is really, really c〓hallenging." "There are currently over 30 million peo〓ple in the affected countries, who are severely food 〓insecure now. Ten million of those people are in the 〓places affected by the locusts. Unless we get a grip 〓of this in the next two or three or four weeks, we wo〓uld have a serious problep

m," he stressed. To avoid a 〓famine, University of Nairobi professor Evaristus Ira〓ndu said the government may have to use the scarce fo〓reign currency to import food products, adding that p〓overty will increase in the country. "All ou6

What They Say

r investm〓ent is going down the drain. The sorghum and millet c〓rops were about to mature and we would have harvested〓 next0

month," said Nathan Njiru, a farmer in Tharaka 〓Nithi, whose livelihood largely depends on selling so〓rghuv

m to Nairobi's beer brewers. In Ethiopia, the loc〓usts have so far consumed the vegetation on more than〓 65,000 hectares of land, including coffee and tea cr〓ops that account for about 30 percent of Ethiopia's e〓xk

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ports. A Moody's Investors Service report issued in 〓early February showed that agriculture contributes ab〓out one-third of the gross domestic product in East A〓frica and more than 65 percent of jobs in all region9

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a〓l countries except for Kenya. A farmer attempts to s〓care away desert locusts in Mwingi Town in Kitui Coun〓ty, Kenya, Feb. 20, 2020. (Xinhua/Zhang Yu) INTERNATI〓ONAL COOPERATION URGED The desert locust swarms have 〓travelled from Africa to Asia. India is suffering the〓 worst hit in 60 years. "Today locust swarms are as b〓ig as mR

ajor cities and it's getting worse by the day,〓" said UN Secretary Gener2

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al Antonio Guterres, urging 〓the international community to take immediate counter〓actions. Sacko Josefa, AU Commissioner for Rural Econ〓omy and Agriculture, said earlier this month that the〓 55-member pan-African bloc is working directly with 〓the FAO to make sure that there is no spread to other〓 countries. Antonio Querido, UN FAO represeU

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ntative in〓 Uganda, said international organizations are providi〓ng technical support and mo4

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