The Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), QU Dongyu, have welcomed an US$9mn contribution from the European Union (EU) that will enable countries in the Horn of Africa to maintain a state of readiness in the face of a possible resurgence of Desert Locusts
QU Dongyu, the director-general of FAO, said, “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. ”
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.
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 US$30mn from its Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development (DEVCO).
Additional EU contributions of US$7mn came from ECHO in 2020, including a US$6mn allocation for Somalia, South Sudan and the Sudan.
With support from the European Union and a number of other donors, FAO and governments have scored major successes in containing the worst recorded locust upsurge in Ethiopia and Somalia for 25 years and the worst infestation that Kenya has experienced in 70 years.