Monday, 04 July, 2022

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Desert locust: FAO commends EU for financial support to East Africa


The Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) has commended the European Union (EU) for donating €8 million to help prevent desert locust invasion of the Horn of Africa.

The European Commission announced the funding – from the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) – as another example of the EU’s sustained commitment to control this upsurge since its early days in 2020.

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.

“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. National Governments in collaboration with FAO and partners have achieved major progress in controlling this pest in East Africa, but operations must continue and we cannot afford to let down our guard.”

QU Dongyu, DG of FAO

Fears

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.

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.