MINAGRI gave the caution after residents of Nyagatare District reported swarms of insects in their fields during morning and evening hours and suspected they might be locusts.
The insects were identified on Monday, 10th February 2020 in Nyamiyonga, Nyagatabire, and Kibirizi.
Jean Claude Musabyimana, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture advised farmers to report any unusual insect outbreak since desert locusts are already making ravages in neighboring countries including Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Somalia among others.
“The Ministry of Agriculture informs Rwandans that locusts have not yet reached Rwanda. MINAGRI is establishing measures to prevent and counter their spread.”
MINAGRI is working hand in hand with the World Food Programme (WFP), monitoring the extent of the outbreak and studying ways to counter locusts.
Locusts are a collection of species of short-horned grasshoppers with a swarming phase which is why they are referred to as migratory pests. They have the capacity of flying 150 to 200 kilometers per day and a single swarm can contain up to 150 million locusts per square kilometer.
MINAGRI reported it has put enough measures in place in case the desert locusts reach Rwanda.
Farmers who identify unusual insects in their fields can call MINAGRI on 4127 and report the case or inform local authorities.
Since February 9th, 2020, a swarm of locusts swept through Uganda from Kenya passing by Amudat in Karamoja.
Scientists predict the locusts could spread through the entire East Africa but that it could strongly depend on the climate since locusts thrive only in hot climates.
Desert locusts are the world’s most destructive migratory pests and if not controlled, the outbreak predicts a full-blown catastrophe and food shortage.