Addis Ababa - Swarms of locusts have invaded north-west Ethiopia, posing a serious threat to crops there and putting the region, as well as the entire Horn of Africa, at risk of further food insecurity, officials said on Monday.
Just over a week since the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) warned of new locust hordes descending on Eritrea and Sudan after devastating swarms hit west and northern Africa last year, Ethiopian authorities said the pests had already been spotted in Tigray and Amhara districts.
"Some groups of locusts, most probably coming from Sudan have flown into different localities in Tigray and Amhara," said Fikre Markos, the head of the crop protection department at Ethiopia's agriculture ministry.
Peter Odiyo, director of the desert locust control organisation for eastern Africa, said aerial surveillance had been mounted to try to track the swarms but that one main group appeared to have split up making such efforts difficult.
"It is now flying in different groups, that is why it is difficult to get an idea of the size of the whole population", he said.