Kenyans are using an app to track and report desert locusts which are still ravaging some parts of the country.
According to Reuters, a team of locust scouts are trained by the NGO Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development (ACTED Kenya) with the help of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and Turkana Country government to spot and report sightings using a new application called E-Locust.
This information that is collected is sent in real-time to a database in Lodwar which is then used by another team deployed to spray the insects with pesticides to prevent swarm formation.
The use of technology to spot locusts during their lifecycle to prevent a swarm from emerging is very important to manage desert locusts. Locusts can be devastating in huge swarms as shown in history books.
Locusts can eat food equal to their body weight every day so a swarm can render havoc to an area, critically damaging the food sources of a population. They can also fly upto 150km a day and a square kilometre swam can eat as much food in a day as 35,000 people.
The Food and Agriculture Organization expected swarm formation in Kenya to continue until mid-July. They said their control operations in June treated around 30,830 hectares against locusts of which 8,500 hectares was by air.
Kenya started the year with a terrible locust invasion which threatened the food sources of the country. According to the World Bank, these desert locust swarms could cost East Africa and Yemen $8.5 billion this year. This even led the Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture at the time to request Kenyans to post these locusts on social media, but that did not go as planned.