Locust Invasion

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Economists Downplay Locust Invasion Impact

Economists have played down the invasion of farmlands by desert locusts, saying it poses minimal impact on growth.

The economy may miss its 2020 growth, projected by the National Treasury at 6.1 percent, by a negligible 0.2 percent in the worst case scenario, London-headquartered Capital Economics say.

“If output in the already affected 14 counties falls by the 3.5 percent this would cut 0.2 percentage points off headline GDP growth,” Virág Fórizs, the firm’s economist for Africa and Middle East, wrote in a Friday note.

“And if adjacent counties also suffer a similar fall in agricultural output, the total economic cost would double to 0.4 percentage points of GDP.

Even under this scenario, the key agricultural crop producing areas in the southwest would be spared.”

This assessment contradicts that of National Treasury which has classified the invasion by desert locusts as one of the systemic risks to the economy this year.

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Author

Timothy Omondi