Devouring onions, watermelons, tomatoes and lettuces

Locusts compound troubles of Somali farmers in flood-hit Hiran region

Farmers in central Somalia’s Hiran region, whose farms were recently submerged by floods, are now contending with swarms of locusts, devouring whatever they have planted since then.

Kadiye Abdi Gadod, a farmer in Hodug, west of Beletweyne, told Radio Ergo that locust swarms have set on his farm just as he was preparing to harvest: “They ruined everything; onions, watermelons, tomatoes and lettuces. I’ve got to start again from scratch. All my money and hard labour have gone to waste."

Kadiye feels doubly unfortunate. His farm was flooded last October when the river Shabelle overflowed. He persevered and planted vegetables after the waters receded, only to have his crops gobbled up by locusts. He said he is now living on loans.

According to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the locusts have already destroyed tens of thousands of hectares of farmlands in the Horn of Africa. It is considered to be the worst invasion of locusts in a generation.

Mohamed Bashir Daqarre, Hirshabelle State deputy minister of agriculture, admits that the government has no means to tackle the locusts. However, they are assessing the damage caused to farmlands and grazing areas.

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