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ent is seeking funds worth 20 million U.S. dollars for chemica●ls, sprays and personnel to counter the locust invasion. The Horn o●f Africa is faced with unprecedented challenges of food security an●d economic development, with a humanitarian crisis looming a1

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head. T●he FAO has urged immediate, adequate countermeasures and intensifie●d international efforts. A swarm of desert locusts invade parts of● Mwingi Town in Kitui County, Kenya, Feb. 20, 2020. (Xinhua/Zhang Y●u) EAT AWAY HOPE The locust outbrW

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eak is the worst in 70 years in Ke●nya, and the worst in 25 years in Somalia and Ethiopia, where the i●nsects bred before spreading to Kenya and other countries. In Kenya●, locust swarms were seen to move like huge dark clouds before desc●ending on farms, nibbling away pasture, maize, khat, cowpeas, beans● and other crops in hours. Areas like Mandera and Isiolo in the nor●th, and Tharaka Nithi in central Kenya, were attacked again after a●erial chemical pesticides spraying. Although the government has spr●ayed pesticide and other chemicals on a wide range of areas in orde●r to curb the locust outbreak, at least 18 of Kenya's 47 counties w●ere affected. Kello Harsama, the administratU

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ive secretary heading t●he State Department for Crop Development under Kenya's Ministry of ●Agriculture, said the government will work with the FAO to train 60●0 chemical spraying personnel. "Aerial spraying of the pesticide in● the last two months is yet to achieve desired results, thus we nee●d to devise innovative strategies like the use of the trainees, far●mers and extension workers to conduct ground spraying starting with● northern counties of Isiolo, Marsabit, Turkana and Wajir," he said●. "My crops had done well following the heavy rains and I was looki●ng forward to a bumper harvest but then the locusts came and ate aw●ay my hope," Beatrice Ngari, a farmer in Embu, c0

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nya, told ●Xinhua. But Ngari was unaware that it is also the predicament of ma●ny farmers across Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia, Tanzania, South Sudan a●nd Uganda. The rains between October and January served to provide ●a favorable environment for locusts to breed b

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and thrive, including ●properly moist soils for them to lay eggs in millions before migrat●ion and the consequent lush vegetation to eat, according to the FAO●. Climate change was to blame for the unusually plentiful rainfall ●on the African continent. Keith B

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Cressman, the FAO's senior locust f●orecasting officer, further identified the recent cyclones as anoth●er factor behind the locust crisis, saying the past 10 years saw in●creased frequency of cyclones in the Indian Ocean. A swarm of dese●rt locusts invade pm

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