Sh10b to fight new locusts invasion

Monday, May 17th, 2021 00:00 | By
A farmer struggles with desert locusts at his farm in Isiolo County. Photo/PD/File

The European Union has donated Sh10.6 billion to help Kenya and other Horn of Africa nations respond to a possible new invasion of desert locusts.

According to the latest Desert Watch reports, the locusts continue to decline in the region, because of ongoing control operations.

Recent rains have, however, 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.

Money will be used for procurement, survey and control operations in Ethiopia and Somalia, the two most-at-risk countries.

It will also enable a quick response if the situation changes in Kenya and Sudan.

Prevented loss

“Ongoing assistance in the battle to control desert locust upsurge will enable critical livelihood safeguarding activities.

While progress has been made in collaboration with national governments, operations must continue and we cannot afford to let down our guard,” observed QU Dongyu, Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organisation.

Support will also ensure continuity of activities carried out by FAO in assembling a fighting force in East Africa and maintain vigilance for any new threats to livelihoods of agricultural communities.

Over the last two years, locust control operations have prevented the loss of four million tonnes of cereal and 800 million litres of milk while protecting food security of 36.6 million people.

Locust control effort in East Africa also helped avert a further spread westward to Africa’s vulnerable Sahel region.

FAO has also been helping farmers, who suffered locust damage with agricultural support packages, providing veterinary care for vegetation-starved livestock, and making cash transfers to families who have lost their crops so that they can buy food.

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