The poorest nation of the Arabian Peninsula, Yemen stands to starve as a result of an infestation of desert locusts. As explained by agricultural officials, “Unusually heavy rainfall during the past several months has created perfect breeding conditions for the insects.” Although the state set in place several preventive measures, desert locusts have already devoured vast tracts of crops, putting a severe strain on Yemen’s agricultural sector.
Bearing in mind that about 75% of Yemen’s population relies on agriculture for a living, and that over 40% of Yemenis have been classified by WFP (World Food Program) as at food risk, locusts represent a calamity the country will not be able to withstand alone.
As things stand at present Yemeni farmers could lo lose the entirety of their harvest, a loss in revenues and food stock which will be felt nationwide as food prices will shoot up and entire communities will be further pushed into poverty. Yemen’s last locust infestation took place in 2007 after heavy rainfalls.
The locusts are also in parts of neighbouring Saudi Arabia, which is much better able to cope with them. Yemen also needs to divert land and precious water from growing khat.