Somali farmers have urged their government to help protect crops from the worst invasion of locustsin 25 years.
“Locusts already ate our grazing area so we are now fighting to save at least our farm, where we planted watermelon and beans. We aren’t able to protect them and we call on the Somali government and international community to help us,” said Jamad Mohamed, a farmer in Dhusamareb, the provincial capital of Galgadud, a semi-autonomous region.
Some residents in central Somalia are trying to make the best of the situation by frying the insects and serving them with rice, the UK Independent reports. Some believe consuming bugs helps reduce back pain and blood pressure, while others want local restaurants to serve locust dishes.
The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said Somalia and Ethiopia are facing a “devastating threat” to their crops and fear that the infestation could endanger farms beyond Somalia.
“A single locust plague can lead to a loss of 170,000 tonnes of grain, enough to feed one million people for a year,” the organization said.
The locusts have already destroyed at least 175,000 acres of farmland in Somalia and Ethiopia. Favorable weather conditions means the insects will continue to spawn until April 2020, the report states.
“Locusts devoured the whole area and have now reached our farm to eat our plants,” said Jirow Qorhere, a farmer in central Somalia.
“This is the end, we have nothing left to feed our children and we aren’t even able to buy from the market.