Ethiopia Heaps on Locust Swarms Deterrence Efforts

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ENA,March 4/2020 As the second rainy season swift looming on, Ethiopia is battling against time to control the spread of desert locust influx, Ministry of Agriculture disclosed today. 

East African countries including Ethiopia are experiencing a worst outbreak of desert locust swarms in almost three decades, which threaten food insecurity and livelihood in the region.

According to the Ministry, currently there are about 3 to 5 locust swarms in Ethiopia and the situation is very sever which needs intervention of several stakeholders including the international community.

In an exclusive interview with ENA, State Minister of Agriculture, Sani Redi said the government is exerting maximum efforts to mobile resources from several stakeholders and partners in bid to protect the spread of locust swarms.

He pointed out that desert locust is expected to upsurge in Ethiopia till the end of August, which the situation could be further exacerbated by new breeding that may produce more locust swarms.

So, he said, the government of Ethiopia is intensifying its preventative and controlling measures phase by phase.

The government so far allocated 30 million birr on the top pledges from partners to support the prevention and controlling mechanisms in the coming months, he stated.

“The government of China Pledged to offer drones that would help to point out the areas infested with swarms and FAO also pledged to support about 4.5 million USD and 220,000 liters of chemicals to help Ethiopia in tackling desert locust swarms,” he said.

Moreover, the East African Desert Locust Controlling and prevention Organization offered two more airplanes in-addition to the existing two airplanes that are under operations.

Up to date the ministry managed to spry chemical on 112,000 hectare of lands infested by desert locust swarms across the country.

Allocating budget is not enough to control the swarms, he said adding that awareness creation among the public on how to control the locust before experts reached the places is imperative.

In this regard, he said, “We already tasked our experts to train farmers in simple and effective ways in the move to control the swarms. So, they are now providing trainings to the framers especially in swarm prevention mechanisms.”

Update alarming from the FAO published on March 2 indicates that the desert locust situation remains extremely alarming in the Horn of Africa including Ethiopia.

The alarm warns that widespread breeding is in progress and new swarms are starting to form in the Horn of Africa, representing an unprecedented threat to food security and livelihoods at the beginning of the upcoming cropping season.