The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), has received €8million contribution from the European Union (EU) to l enable countries in the Horn of Africa to maintain a state of readiness in the face of a possible resurgence of Desert Locusts.
The European Commission announced the funding – from the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) – as part of its sustained commitment to control locust upsurge since its early days in 2020.
Director-General, FAO, QU Dongyu, in a statement said national governments in collaboration with FAO and partners have achieved major progress in controlling this pest in East Africa, but stated that operations must continue in this regard.
“I want to thank the European Union and all other supporters for their generous contribution and ongoing assistance in the battle to control the Desert Locust upsurge, enabling critical livelihood-safeguarding activities” the Director-General noted.
He said while the upsurge continues to decline in the Horn of Africa thanks to control operations, recent rainfall has enabled swarms in eastern Ethiopia and northern Somalia to mature and lay eggs.
“Additional breeding of the voracious pest may also take place in northern Kenya but on a much smaller scale,” he said.
However, he said the new funding will be used to bridge time-sensitive, critical gaps in procurement, survey, and control operations in the remaining two most-at-risk countries, Ethiopia and Somalia.
” It will also enable a quick response if the situation changes and needs arise in Kenya and the Sudan. This is designed to ensure the continuity of activities carried out by FAO in support of national governments so that the locust fighting force assembled in East Africa in the past year remains vigilant and ready to contain any new threats to the livelihoods of agricultural communities,”he said
He further stated that ECHO’s latest contribution will also support the procurement of additional biopesticides to help sustain control activities beyond the second quarter of 2021.
“As the record-setting locust upsurge gained momentum in East Africa last year, the European Commission was an early responder to the threat, providing €25 million from its Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development (DEVCO).
“Additional EU contributions of €6.1 million came from ECHO in 2020, including a €5.1 million allocation for Somalia, South Sudan and the Sudan,”QU Dongyu added.