The Director General of the Food Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Qu Dongyu, said Germany has provided 17 million euros to the agency to provide assistance to those affected by the Desert Locust upsurge in East Africa.
Germany’s Permanent Representative to FAO, Ulrich Seidenberger, made the announcement at FAO headquarters in Rome. The new pledge comes after Germany had contributed three million euro.
“I want to thank Germany for its generous contribution and for recognising the urgent need to alleviate the alarming impact of the Desert Locust upsurge. We are working to curb the locusts’ spread but we also need to safeguard livelihoods and promote early recovery,” Qu said.
FAO’s Desert Locust Information Service says it is the worst outbreak to strike Ethiopia and Somalia for 25 years and the worst infestation that Kenya has experienced in 70 years. Djibouti and Eritrea have also been affected, and locusts have been reported in South Sudan, Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania, although the situation there is less dire.
Its Director-General stressed the situation was extremely alarming in East Africa, a region where 20 million people are already considered food insecure. There, the swarms have laid eggs and in a few weeks’ time, these will mature, and start to eat crops – right at the start of the region’s main agricultural season.
“Fighting the locusts is half the battle. The other half is helping the people affected. Germany’s support will enable FAO to provide much needed support to the farmers and their families,”Qu said.
The Desert Locust is considered the most destructive migratory pest in the world. A swarm covering one square kilometer contains 40 million locusts that can eat the same amount of food in one day as 35,000 people.
Pasture and croplands have already suffered damage in Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia, and there are potentially severe consequences for the region where millions rely on agriculture and livestock rearing for their survival.
FAO has appealed for $138 million to assist the countries that have been impacted. Germany’s announcement raises the amount pledged by donors to $69 million.
FAO has surged 15 locust experts and other personnel to support governments with surveillance and coordination of locust control activities, technical advice and the procurement of supplies and equipment for aerial and ground operations.
Of the $138 million, FAO has earmarked more than $60 million to curb the spread of the disease; over $67 million to safeguard livelihoods and promote early recovery; and close to $10 million to promote regional co-ordination and preparedness.
Desert Locust monitoring, forecasting and control are at the heart of FAO’s mandate.
Its Desert Locust Information Service has been in operation for nearly 50 years. FAO’s well-established field presence, ability to link up authorities from different countries, and expertise in Desert Locust management make it a key player in responding to upsurges like that affecting East Africa and the Red Sea area.-->
Life saving humanitarian operations of the World Food Programme (WFP) in Zimbabwe received a boost as the Canadian Government has contributed three million Canadian dollars to support the United Nations agency’s effort to provide food assistance to about 55,000 people in Matabo district.
Currently about 7.7 million people in Zimbabwe face food security challenge and WFP says it would require $104 million dollars to provide life-saving food assistance.
Besides providing Zimbabweans with food to put on the table and meet their daily nutritional needs, WFP’s Canadian funded food assistance also provides a cushion for Zimbabweans during the lean season. It protects them from resorting to detrimental ways of coping, like selling assets or livestock which will undermine their food security in the longer term.
WFP said it is helping to improve the self-sufficiency of vulnerable communities by supporting local initiatives to boost agricultural production, improve access to markets, increase earnings and savings, and minimise the impact of adverse weather.
WFP Country Coordinator, Eddie Rowe said “ WFP is seriously concerned about the hunger that millions of Zimbabweans are enduring – and the very real prospect that their plight will get worse before it gets better.
“This support from Canada will go a long way towards improving the well-being of food insecure people, particularly children and women,” he said.
The Food and Agri...
The United Nations said it would require over $182 million urgently to sustain lifesaving aid for millions of people in Nigeria who are hit severely by the effect of coronavirus pandemic and the decade-long conflict in the North-East region, especially Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states.
According to the senior spokesperson of the World Food Programme (WFP), Elisabeth Byrs, in a statement made available to AGRICFOCUS, “We are concerned by conflict-affected communities in northeast Nigeria who already face extreme hunger and who are especially vulnerable. They are on life-support and need assistance to survive.
“The three states have been plagued by insurgency that has spilled over into the Lake Chad region. It remains among the most severe humanitarian crises in the world, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), with some 7.9 million mainly women and children in need of urgent assistance today.
“That’s why WFP is distributing now two months’ worth of food and nutrition assistance in IDP camps and among vulnerable communities to ensure that people have enough food while they are on full or partial lockdown”.
She said the WFP is scaling up its operations in the Northeast to serve more people in response to the new challenges of more food insecurity posed by COVID-19.
"However, there have been a few delays with COVID-19 containment movement restrictions that are affecting supply chains. These have been generally managed and we have continued providing assistance. We continue to appeal to all parties to ensure access to people in need and respect humanitarian space," she said.
WFP’s involvement has included re-adjusting school meals programmes during school closures by providing food to take home. The initiative kicked off in the Federal Capital Territory and the commercial capital Lagos, in mid-May.
The programme led by Nigeria’s Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs - aims to reach nine million children in three million homes across the country’s 36 states, where school closures have affected some 39 million youngsters. The urban poor remain the focus of the scheme, including the floating slum community of Makoko, where tens of thousands of people live cheek by jowl, on stilt houses in a village on the outskirts of Lagos.-->
American Farmland Trust has c...