1. Agriculture World

FAO Welcomes Additional 15 euros million from the European Union to fight Desert Locusts

Pritam Kashyap
Pritam Kashyap

The Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Qu Dongyu, today welcomed a 15 million euros contribution from the European Union to fight the Desert Locust upsurge in East Africa as a new wave of locusts is emerging in the region.

FAO Director-General Qu Dongyu thanked the EU on Wednesday for what he called its "generous contribution and sustained support." 

"The battle against the desert locust is a long one and far from over," he said, adding "Sustained support is critical if we are going to contain this pest." 

Even before the arrival of the locusts and the global coronavirus pandemic, 25 million people face acute hunger risks in East Africa, with another 17 million in Yemen in a similar situation. 

"We cannot falter in our fight against the locusts," Qu said. "The food security situation is already dire for many millions of people." 

FAO has already received nearly 179 million U.S. dollars to fight the threat. That is sort of its appeal to raise more than 310 million U.S. dollars to fund the effort. 

FAO said its anti-locust initiatives have already had some success, killing an estimated 500 billion of the pests, thus saving one million tons of crops enough to feed nearly 7 million people.  

FAO has said that the desert locust threat in Africa is one of the biggest challenges facing the world's food systems, already creating devastating impacts in East Africa and Yemen. According to FAO, a small swarm of the pests can in one day eat crops that could have otherwise fed 35,000 people. 

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, the EU Commissioner for International Partnerships. 

Even before the locusts, 25 million people were facing acute hunger in Eastern Africa in 2020, according to the recent Global Report on Food Crises. An additional 17 million people in Yemen were in the same situation. The COVID-19 pandemic is also threatening to further undermine food security in critical areas. 

"We cannot falter in our fight against locusts," said Qu. "The food security situation is already dire for millions of people." 

FAO recently raised its Desert Locust appeal to $311.6 million to deal with the expansion of the upsurge and so far, $178.9 million has been received or committed to the appeal. 

In addition to the renewed EU support, recent contributions have also been received from China ($2 million) and over $1 million from Canada, an early supporter of the locust campaign. 

Funding has also been received from Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, the Netherlands, the Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, the United Arab Emirates, the Africa Solidarity Trust Fund, the African Development Bank, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Louis Dreyfus Foundation, the MasterCard Foundation, the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and the World Bank Group. 

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