Upper Egypt threatened with possible plague of locusts: FAO

Ahram Online, Monday 11 Feb 2013

United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) warns of major locust infestation in Egypt's southeast following recent spate of heavy rainfall

(Photo: Reuters)

Egypt's southeast is currently facing the spectre of a major locust infestation following recent heavy rainfall and the start of a new breeding season, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) warned last week.

On Sunday, Egyptian state news agency MENA reported that vast numbers of locusts had appeared in several areas of Upper Egypt, where they threatened the wellbeing of local crops.

According to the FAO, the Egyptian Ministry of Agriculture last month managed to clear roughly 11,000 hectares of land of locusts with the use of pesticides.

Yet despite these efforts, locust numbers increased significantly in January, especially along the Red Sea coast between Egypt and Sudan, the FAO has reported.

In 2004, Egypt witnessed one of the most serious locust plagues in recent history, when farmers in 15 out of the country's 27 governorates reported infestations and extensive crop damage.

At the time, the Land Centre for Human Rights, a local NGO devoted to agriculture issues, reported that 38 per cent of the nation's crops had been damaged as a result of the phenomenon.

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