Nation Needs to Build Capacity to Independently Control Locust Plagues, Says Expert

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ENA,February 14/2020 Ethiopia requires strong capacity and separate structure to independently respond to unprecedented huge locust swarm invasions, a FAO expert said.

FAO Entomologist and Integrated Pest Management Expert, Bayeh Mulatu told ENA that the existing “one directorate with limited human resources and much responsibility is being challenged to solve all plant health issues.”

The directorate manages all plant health care and controls plagues like the current desert locust which spread from destabilized countries separately.

The expert said Ministry of Agriculture is fighting hard to control the locusts, but faces  resources and human resources limitations to control the swarm. It should, therfore, reconsider its structure and resources in a way that it could control the widespread of locust swarms.

“The ministry does not even own a single aircraft sprayer at the moment,” he pointed out, adding that it is renting and getting other supports.

According to Bayeh, the Desert Locust Control Organization for East Africa is supporting the ministry with two planes but the organization itself requires resource support from partners.

Well structured and capable ministry along with firm collaboration of locust and food security partners needs to be firmly coordinated to support the campaign in controlling the desert locust infestation that is spreading in East African countries, including Ethiopia, he noted.

Agriculture State Minister, Gebregziabher Gebreyohannes states that the ministry had managed to control 10 locust invasions during the past 25 years; but this one is beyond its capacity.

The current desert locust swarm is huge, and that is why the ministry is appealing for support, he added.

However, the state minister noted that “the main thing is building national capacity in human resources, aircraft, motorized cars, and infrastructure.”

Gebregziabher stressed that national capacity needs to be seen comprehensively in order to build reliable and independent institution and rely on own resources.