I'm Bob Doughty with the VOA Special English
The Food and Agriculture Organization says the locust situation in
Northwest Africa is improving. The United Nations agency reported last
week that Morocco had reduced its control operations by about 50 percent.
Algeria, also invaded by desert locusts, reduced its treatments by 20
The F.A.O. said locust control operations ended in Mauritania. But now
that country faces a food shortage. The U.N. World Food Program says
locusts invaded 100 percent of the agricultural production area of
The insects have destroyed not only cereal grains but also vegetables.
Not enough rain last year has made the situation worse. Grasslands for
cattle have also been damaged.
The World Food Program appealed last week for 31 million dollars to
provide food aid for Mauritania. Agency officials say 400,000 people are
in urgent need of assistance through 2007. Mauritania has a population of
almost three million.
The country is estimated to need 187,000 metric tons of food to feed its
The worst damage is in southern Mauritania, home to one-fourth of the
population. A U.N. study says 60 percent of families there will not have
enough to eat in the coming year.
The locust invasions in the Sahel area of West Africa have been
described as the worst in 15 years. Aircraft have spread poisons over
millions of hectares of land to kill the insects.
The Food and Agriculture Organization said last week that limited
control operations continued in parts of Gambia and southern Senegal.
Guinea Bissau and northwest Guinea were organizing operations to treat
small groups of locusts too young to reproduce.
Locust migrations begin when young locusts leave their native
territory to search for new places to mate and lay eggs.
One locust weighs only about two grams. But swarms can involve
thousands of millions. One ton of locusts can eat about as much food as
2500 people. Experts say locust migrations last for several years.
The current invasions began last June. By last week, the F.A.O. had
received 64 million dollars to assist the countries affected. At least
nine million dollars more is expected.
This VOA Special English Agriculture Report was written by Mario
Ritter. I'm Bob Doughty.