Locust ‘Crisis’ Is Really About Abundant Rainfall

People, crops, livestock, and even insects thrive in conditions with more abundant food and water. Africa and the Middle East are currently enjoying abundant rainfall, benefiting each group of animals. Rather than celebrating this development, the media are claiming a climate crisis because locusts are one of the groups benefiting from abundant rainfall.

On March 18, The Weather Channel reported, “A locust plague that’s been growing in the Horn of Africa this month is slated to make its way across Northern Africa and the Middle East, the likes of which have been unseen in the region for over 30 years.”

“Climate change is worsening the largest plague of the crop-killing insects in 50 years,” claimed a March 22 Inside Climate News article.

According to a March 23 Reuters article, “locusts crossed into Kenya from Somalia and Ethiopia at the end of 2019 and have so far infested 26 Kenyan counties.

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (UNFAO) observes, “When plentiful rain falls and annual green vegetation develops, Desert Locusts can increase rapidly in number….”

Which is exactly what is happening now.

Buried in The Weather Channel article is this observation, “Wet weather also favors multiplication of locusts. Widespread, above-average rain that pounded the Horn of Africa from October to December 2019….”

Of course, when rain does not “pound” Africa, alarmists and their media allies claim a drought crisis, also caused by climate change.

The map below shows where precipitation during the past three months is more abundant or less abundant than the long-term average. Much of Africa (as well as Europe and Asia) is enjoying – as the UNFAO describes it – “plentiful rainfall.”

Image: 3-Month Standardized Precipitation Index, showing departure from long-term average. Green is more precipitation, red and yellow are less precipitation. Source: Columbia University International Research Institute, utilizing National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration data,

More abundant rainfall is generally considered good news. People, crops, and livestock are enjoying enormous benefits. Only climate alarmists would look for a reason to claim more abundant rainfall in arid regions of the world is bad news.

Tiffany Taylor ( is an associate policy analyst at The Heartland Institute.

Tiffany Taylor
Tiffany Taylor
Tiffany Taylor is an associate policy analyst for the Heartland Institute.

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  1. This is excellent. Having spent two weeks in east Africa I came away with the impression that there is little wrong with Africa and its economy that could not be cured with decent rainfall. Contrary to the Tarzan image of dense rain forests, most of the continent is either desert, arid plains or dry savanna.


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