Locust swarm will multiply 20 times in coming years if not contained

The locust swarm in horn of Africa is expected to grow by another 20 times more over the coming years if the fight against the locust does not increase from the current state in the areas.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), more needs to be done to prevent a food security crisis, as the ongoing rainy season not only provides livelihoods for farmers and pastoralists but also favorable conditions for locusts to breed in the countries which are experiencing high level of food insecurity.
Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya has been the hotspots of the locust activity and FAO estimated that more than 20 million people will suffer from food insecurity in the second half of the 2020. Also in Yemen where locusts have been reproducing in hard-to-access inland areas, an additional 17 million people will be acutely food insecure.
The Director-General of FAO, Qu Dongyu said “more people are at risk of losing their livelihoods and worsening food security in the coming months.”
According to the UN agency preliminary estimation indicate that 720,000 tons of food has been saved in ten countries by preventing the spread of desert locust which is enough to feed five million people. An additional 350,000 pastoral households have been spared from distress.
The Desert Locust is considered the most destructive migratory pest in the world and a single swarm covering one square kilometre can contain up to 80 million locusts. FAO’s Desert Locust appeal, launched in January, now covers ten countries – Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Uganda, Tanzania and Yemen.
While locust control and surveillance operations are led by national governments, FAO is providing critical support in the form of pesticides, bio-pesticides, equipment, aircraft and training.
“We can and must protect vulnerable people from the impact of multiple crises: conflicts, climate extremes, desert locusts and COVID-19, which threaten to cause a further dramatic deterioration in the food security,” Qu said. “To do this, we need to intensify our efforts further and focus not just on controls but on supporting the livelihoods of farmers and pastoralists so they can get through this.”
Since FAO launched its desert locust response in January, its appeal has been funded with $130 million, the report said. However, funding has concentrated on locust control activities and much more backing for livelihoods support activities is needed.
In related development Ministers responsible for Agriculture and Livestock of the Member States of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), including representation from Saudi Arabia and Yemen, held a virtual ministerial meeting with key desert locust control organizations to upscale desert locust control operations and boost coordination efforts between IGAD and the Middle East region.
Discussions revolved around current control operations, surveillance, contingency plans, infestation mapping and impacts. Also present were representatives from international and regional organizations involved in Food Security and Nutrition, and Desert Locust Control Operations (DLCO-EA, CRC, ICIPE, FAO and other UN Agencies, Development Partners and Non-Governmental Organizations).
The objective of the inter-regional meeting was to provide a platform for IGAD Member States, neighbours, regional and international partners to share experiences in pest control, deliberate on establishing a Joint Inter-Regional Contingency and Response Action Plan, that will guide the upscaling of cross-border and cross-regional control operations, improve coordination and join efforts to contain the desert locust invasion both in the IGAD region as well as in the breeding areas of the Arabian Peninsula.


Source: Capital Ethiopia

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