Swarms of locusts have entered Egypt a few days ago, coming from Sudan in the south. During the last two days they have been seen in the east Cairo districts of Muqattam and New Cairo
Swarms of locusts have entered Egypt a few days ago, coming from Sudan in the south. During the last two days they have been seen in the east Cairo districts of Muqattam and New Cairo.
This locust attack is not unprecedented. In 2004, Egypt went through one of the most serious locust infestations in recent history, when farmers in 15 out of the country’s 27 governorates suffered extensive crop damage.
Mohamed al-Nahrawi, director of the Institute of Field Research at the Agricultural Research Institute, told Watani that it is normal for locusts to enter Egypt during the months at the end of winter and early summer; the season of breeding. This year however, Dr Nahrawi says, Egypt has been invaded by migratory locusts coming from Sudan; up to 40 million locusts.
The locust swarms have been spotted in the Upper Egyptian villages of Qena, some 600km south of Cairo, and in the Red Sea town of Zaafarana, some 200km east of Cairo. According to the wind speed and the temperature, the locust swarms are expected to fly with the wind to Saudi Arabia in the East and Israel in the North.
Watani asked Dr Nahrawi whether or not the locust invasion had been predicted, what threat it carried, and how it can be battled. Dr Nahrawi said no one had expected these huge, fast-moving locust swarms which are now beyond control—at least with the insufficient capabilities affordable in Egypt. To battle them, we need much larger means than is available to us.
As to the threat the locust swarms carry to the wheat crop, Dr Nahrawy explained that this year’s swarm is not in the phase of its lifecycle in which it feeds on the crop. It is in the breeding phase, the season of laying its eggs, which—even if it poses no peril to crops—poses the threat of making Egypt the field of successive locust swarms in the future.
4 March 2013
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