Africa Solidarity Trust Fund donates $1M to combat locust plague in East Africa
The Africa Solidarity Trust Fund (ASTF) has donated $1 million to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (UN) to combat the worsening Desert Locust upsurge in the Horn of Africa.
“We have a window of opportunity before the next planting season. We must act now. Flexible funding, like that of the ASTF, helps us move fast,” said Maria Helena Semedo, FAO’s Deputy Director-General for Climate and Natural Resources, who recently attended a ministerial briefing on Desert Locusts on the margins of the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa.
For her part, ASTF Steering Committee Chairperson Maria De Fatima Jardim said the contribution from the Africa Solidarity Trust Fund presents a timely opportunity calling upon all African countries and resource partners to support the outbreak through the ASTF platform.
The Desert Locust is the most dangerous migratory pest in the world and according to FAO’s latest update, the recent upsurge presents an unprecedented threat to food security and livelihoods in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia.
The FAO Locust Watch warns that South Sudan and Uganda are now at risk and there is also concern about new swarms forming in Eritrea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Yemen as locust infestations continue to grow on both sides of the Red Sea.
FAO has estimated that $76 million is needed to scale up efforts to control the rapid spread of this pest and FAO Director-General QU Dongyu has called for urgent action to combat the upsurge. So far, more than $18 million has been donated to the efforts to fight the upsurge.