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02/15/2013

Locust invasion in Egypt?

Locusts1Locusts are back in Egypt.   

The country's southeast is facing a locust infestation following the recent heavy rainfall coinciding with the start of a new breeding season, the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation has warned.

The Egyptian Ministry of Agriculture last month managed to clear as much as 11,000 hectares of land of locusts with the use of pesticides, said FAO. But locust numbers increased significantly in January, especially along the Red Sea coast between Egypt and Sudan.

The hoppers continue to form numerous groups and bands on the coastal plains in southeast Egypt, northeast Sudan, on the border of Eritrea and Sudan, said FAO earlier this week.  

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

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

READ MORE: Desert locusts threaten food supply in West Africa

Raveena Aulakh is the Toronto Star’s environment reporter. She is intrigued by climate change and its impact, now and long-term. Follow her on Twitter @raveenaaulakh

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