Rwanda’s Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources, Geraldine Mukeshimana says the country is on high alert to tackle the possible invasion of locusts that have infested several countries in the East African region, including Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia.

Mukeshimana made this known in an interview with Xinhua on Thursday.

According to her, locusts have not spread to Rwanda yet but, in case they do, the people should be ready to fight them as they did to the fall armyworm in the past few years.

Mukeshimana said that locusts pose a major threat to agricultural production, livelihoods, food security, and the environment.

Rwandan farmers and extension workers should be on the lookout and report immediately in case of any strange grasshoppers detected in their areas, said the minister.

Early in December last year, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) warned that desert locusts, which had hit first Ethiopia and Somalia would spread to other east Africa countries.

The countries FAO said  including Djibouti, Eritrea, Kenya and South Sudan if early and sustained measures were not taken.

The locusts have damaged about 70,000 hectares of land in Somalia and neighboring Ethiopia, threatening food supplies in both countries and the livelihoods of farming communities, according to the FAO.