4th August 2020
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EU offers EAC more money to combat locust

Author: Jale Richard | Published: Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Farmers in Magwi County resorted to setting fires and making noise in attempts to ward off the locusts, February 29, 2020 | Credit | Okot Emmanuel/Eye Radio

The European Union has announced another 15 million Euros to support East African countries in the fight against one of the worst desert locust outbreaks.

The region is fighting the second wave of desert locust.

The first swarm was reported at the start of the years across east African countries was the largest swarm that the region had seen in over 30 years.

In February, South Sudan’s Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security reported the arrival of the first pest in Magwi and Lobone areas before another swarm was reported two months later.

The desert locust is considered the most destructive migratory pest in the world.

Crop and food losses in affected areas can be enormous, generating direct dramatic negative impacts on agriculture and livelihoods.

Local food markets can also be affected, as food availability declines, impacting on an already vulnerable population through spikes to food prices.

The situation in East Africa has rapidly deteriorated, where 27.5 million people suffer from severe food insecurity and at least 35 million more are at risk, according to the World Food Program.

The EU’s 15 million-Euro contribution announced yesterday comes in addition to 42 million Euros mobilized in early 2020 for a broad humanitarian-development approach in the East African region.

The EU says through the support, the bloc wants to continue its action to tackle food insecurity as a founding member of the Global Network Against Food Crises.

“Our friends and partners in the Horn of Africa have experienced the catastrophic consequences of this desert locust outbreak on livelihoods and food security, a situation that is aggravated by the coronavirus pandemic which has made intervention efforts more difficult,” said Jutta Urpilainen, EU Commissioner for International Partnerships.

According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, the pests have damaged crop and pasture in Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia.

It warns that the outbreak may spread to neighboring countries, particularly Djibouti, Eritrea, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.

Yemen, Sudan, Iran, India and Pakistan are also at risk.

FAO says around 206 million Euros will be required for the most urgent activities for both desert locust control and agricultural livelihood protection and recovery in east and the horn of Africa.

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