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Over 60M USD needed to combat desert locusts

By: Peter Gatkuoth

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations  (UNFAO) said they and a few donors have committed emergency resources to fight desert Locusts  but some USD 67 million was urgently needed.

Speaking at a joined press conference yesterday, Meshack Malo, UNFAO Country representative said many of the swarms are currently moving west in northern and central Kenya towards the Rift Valley, the breadbasket of Kenya.

“Swarms are moving about 150 km east of Lake Turkana and some are headed northwards to the Ethiopian border but there remains a high risk of deviation towards the northwest, crossing Lake Turkana where they would potentially move into adjacent areas of South Sudan, including Kapoeta East and Ilemi Triangle (Kokuro – Lokomarinyang –Kibish villages) in the coming week,” he warned.

Minister for Agriculture and Food Security, Onyoti Adigo said the International Community and national partners should be on high alert to support the initial efforts being made by UNFAO and his ministry to prevent the situation from developing into a plague.

He added that the swarms of desert locusts are likely to exacerbate the already precarious food security situation in the country – assistance is urgently needed to avoid a possible locust swarm and minimize its impact.

The minister said the government has already formed a High Level Committee in coordinating control measures, adding that the community awareness will start soon and experts have already been trained to further train field level experts in facilitating the monitoring and control measures.

In their joined statement, Onyoti said proactive steps and preparatory efforts head of the threat are crucial in the fight against desert locust.

“While these need to be further strengthened, efforts should be well managed in awareness creation, in regular monitoring and reporting, coordination and resource mobilization and recruitment of training of spray personnel,” the statement read in part.

Both government and UNFAO called for an immediate need to procure motorized and Ultral Low Volume (ULV) sprayers, insecticides, prepare vehicles for ground spraying.

The two institutions planned to consult with Desert Locust Control Organization in East Africa (DLCO-EA) on the possibility of any cross-border aerial control operations from the Kenya aside in case of a swarm invasion.

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