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mbu, central Kenya, told ●Xinhua. But Ngari was unaware that it is also the predicament of ma●ny1

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 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 Cressman, the FAO's senior locust f●ore6

casting officer, further identified the recenO

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t cyclones as anoth●er factor behind the locust crisis, saying the past 10 years saw in●creased 3

frequency of cyclones in the Indian Ocean. A swarm of dese●rt locusts invade parts of Mwingi Town in Kitui County, Kenya, Feb.● 20, 2020. (Xinhua/Zhang Yu) AGGRAVATING FOOD INSECURITY FAO offici●als said the locust outbreak has worsened the food insecurity in Af●rica, citing some 239 million people in sub-Saharan Africa sufferin●g from hunger and malnutrition, and over 20 million having already ●been in food crisis in Horn of Africa countries. UN Undersecretary-●General fe

or Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief 1

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Coordinator, ●Mark Lowcock, said the current situation "is really, really challen●ging." "There X

are currently over 30 million people in the affected ●countries, who are severely food insecure now. Ten million of those● people are in the places affected by the locusts. Unless we get a ●grip of this in the next two or three or four weeks, we would have ●a serious problem," he stressed. To avoid a famine, University of N●airobi professor Evaristus Irandu said the government may have to u●se the scarce foreign currency to import food products, adding that● poverty will iH

ncrease in the country. "All our investment ij

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s going● down the drain. The sorghum and millet crops were about to mature ●and we would have hao

rvested next month," said Nathan Njiru, a farme●r in Tharaka Nithi, whose livelihood largely depends on selling sor●ghum to Nairobi's beer brewers. In Ethiopia, the locusts have so fa●r consumed the vegetation on more than 65,000 hectares of land, inc●luding coffee and tea crops that account for about 30 percent of Et●hiopia's exports. A Moody's Investors Service report issued in earl●y February showed that agriculture contributes about one-third of t●he gross domestic proX

duct in East Africa and more than 65 percent J

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o●f jobs in all regional countries except for Kenya. A farmer attemp●ts to scare away desert8

locusts in Mwingi Town in Kitui County, Ken●ya, F3

eb. 20, 2020. (Xinhua/Zhang Yu) INTERNAG

TIONAL COOPERATION URGE●D The desert locust swarms havE

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e travelled from Africa to Asia. Indi●a is suffering the worst hit in 60 years. "Today locust swarms are ●as big as major cities and it's getting worse by the day," said UN ●Secretary General Antonio Guterres, urging the international commun●ity to take immediate counteractions. Sacko Josefa, AU Commissioner● for Rural Economy and Agriculture, said earlier this month that th●e 55-member pan-African bloc is working directly with the FAO to ma●ke sure that there is no spread to other countries. Antoni4

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