twitter RSS Feed linkedin acp contact

FAO gains in fight against Desert Locusts in East Africa and Yemen

The director-general of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) QU Dongyu, said that significant gains had been made in the fight against the desert locust upsurge in East Africa and Yemen

desert locust 12 MayThe upsurge is particularly alarming in the broader Eastern Africa region. (Image source: soufiane koraichi/Pixabay)

 He stressed, however, that 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 favourable conditions for locusts to breed. 

Releasing FAO's progress report on the locust control campaign in East Africa and Yemen, the director-general noted that the UN agency had continued its surveillance and control operations despite constraints resulting from COVID-19 and other challenges.

Preliminary estimates from the UN agency indicate that 720,000 tonnes of cereal, enough to feed five million people a year, have been saved in ten countries by preventing the spread of Desert Locusts and damage to many more hectares. An additional 350 000 pastoral households have been spared from distress.

"Our gains have been significant; but the battle is long and is not yet over," Qu said. "More people are at risk of losing their livelihoods and worsening food security in the coming months."

While swathes of treated land are now relatively free from the voracious pest, the first wave of swarms has reproduced and a second wave of locusts will transition from juveniles to the young adult stage in June, taking flight at a critical time when many farmers in East Africa prepare to harvest their crops.

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.

The upsurge is particularly alarming in the broader Eastern Africa region, with recently released forecasts from the Global Report on Food Crises indicating that more than 25mn people will face acute food insecurity in the region in the second half of 2020. In Yemen, where locusts have been reproducing in hard-to-access inland areas, an additional 17mn people are acutely food insecure. But those estimates were made before the impact of COVID-19 in a region of acute food insecurity.

"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 their 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 US$130mn funded, the report said. However, funding has concentrated on locust control activities and much more backing for livelihoods support activities is needed.

 


LATEST NEWS IN Agriculture

African food imports bill predicted to double by 2030

African food imports bill predicted to d…

Experts have warned that the cost of Africa’s yearly food imports could increase from US$50bn to US$110bn by 2030 if immediate measures aren’t taken to increase food production

Wildlife and forestry sector in the spotlight

Wildlife and forestry sector in the spot…

On August 22, the 23rd session of the African Forestry and Wildlife Commission, hosted by the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo opened in Kinshasa, putting the future...

Boosting investment for Africa-made cotton

Boosting investment for Africa-made cott…

At a partner’s conference on cotton, jointly organised with the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), donors were urged to mobilise resources for new partnerships.   

Nature-based solutions help farmers in Ghana

Nature-based solutions help farmers in G…

Organic pesticides, waste-based fertilisers and forest regeneration are just a few of the green initiatives being employed in Ghana to boost farming communities’ resilience to the impacts of climate...

Boosting soil nutrient mapping in sub-Saharan Africa

Boosting soil nutrient mapping in sub-Sa…

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is set to fast track an impact-oriented project in sub-Saharan Africa and Central America for digital soil nutrient mapping, after...

Gambia-Korea partnership seeks to double rice production to curb food insecurity

Gambia-Korea partnership seeks to double…

President Adama Barrow has received a delegation led by the Korean Ambassador to The Gambia, HE Kim Ji-Joon, at the State House in Banjul to announce the delivery of sample rice...

Prev Next

OTHER RELATED ARTICLES - Agriculture

Namibian bank to support drought-hit farmers

Namibian bank to support drought-hit far…

Standard Bank Namibia has pledged to help farmers in combating the effects of drought-stricken areas in Namibia

South Africa and Bangladesh discuss agricultural cooperation

South Africa and Bangladesh discuss agri…

Thoko Didiza, South African minister and member of parliament met Dr Abdul Momen, minister of foreign affairs in Bangladesh, to discuss agricultural cooperation between the two countries

FAO seeds distribution drive continues in South Sudan

FAO seeds distribution drive continues i…

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has distributed seeds and essential farming tools to 500 households as part of its Emergency Livelihood Response Programme (ELRP) in South Sudan

P4P pilot urges Sudanese farmers to run farms as business venture

P4P pilot urges Sudanese farmers to run …

The UN World Food Programme's (WFP) strong food-purchasing power and logistics capacity has been attempting to enhance local agricultural production in order to benefit smallholder farmers in Sudan

Uganda considering GM crops for food security solution

Uganda considering GM crops for food sec…

Uganda could be close to legitimising GM crops in order to boost production in the country, according to the Uganda Biotechnology and Biosafety Consortium

Lagos to train 15,000 youths in agriculture value chains

Lagos to train 15,000 youths in agricult…

Lagos state government has decided to train and empower around 15,000 youths and the unemployed in the next four years in agricultural value chains

Biocontrol product to combat aflatoxin in Gambia

Biocontrol product to combat aflatoxin i…

The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) has launched Aflasafe, an all-natural biocontrol product, to combat the dangers posed by afltoxin in Gambia

New study raises the voices of small farmers in Mozambique

New study raises the voices of small far…

A research report released 3 August tells the story of small farmers in Mozambique who are adversely impacted by large-scale, foreign agricultural investments - and the alternative, ecumenical vision of...

Zimbabwe’s tobacco deliveries hit record high in 2018

Zimbabwe’s tobacco deliveries hit record…

The delivery of flue-cured tobacco in Zimbabwe has reached the highest ever 238mn kg in 2018, exceeding the earlier record of 237mn kg in 2000, according to the recent statistics...

FAO: Urgent need to fight Desert Locust upsurge in Horn of Africa

FAO: Urgent need to fight Desert Locust …

As the Desert Locust upsurge in the Horn of Africa threatened to provoke a humanitarian crisis, FAO director-general QU Dongyu appealed for urgent funding to tackle the outbreak and protect...

New Holland Agriculture wins three medals at 2001 SIMA Innovation and Edison Awards

New Holland Agriculture wins three medal…

New Holland Agriculture’s innovation in combine harvesting has been recognised with silver and a bronze medal at the SIMA Innovation awards

Genetic resources play key role in Africa’s food security

Genetic resources play key role in Afric…

Countries in Africa are having to preserve and share genetic resources, which are affecting agricultural productivity to ensure food security across the continent, the UN Agricultural Agency has said

Prev Next