Germany contributes £2.3M to boost FAO’s fight against desert locusts in Uganda – PML Daily

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Desert locusts entered Uganda through Amudat district in Northern country (PHOTO/File).

KAMPALA – The Government of the Federal Republic of Germany has made a contribution of 2.3 million EUR to boost efforts of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in the fight against the Desert Locusts in Uganda. The contribution will go towards providing relief and cash assistance to about 4000 households and communities affected by the Desert Locusts, particularly in the most affected regions of Karamoja and Teso. The funding is part of the 20 million EUR, which FAO received from the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany to implement a regional project titled: Emergency livelihoods assistance to vulnerable farmers, agro pastoralists and pastoralists affected by desert locust in Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan and Uganda.

According to Antonio Querido, FAO Country Representative in Uganda, the generous donation from the people of Germany towards Desert Locust response in Uganda will help families to cope with the negative impacts of the crisis and support them to re-engage in their livelihoods. FAO is grateful to the people of Germany for this generous contribution because it comes at a time when Uganda is facing multiple crises such as floods, effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the destructive Desert Locusts. The funds will benefit households already suffering acute food and livelihood crisis, with priority given to women-headed households. Households will also receive unconditional cash transfers for six months, crop and vegetable seed, animal feed as well as farming tools to assist in sustaining agricultural livelihoods.

Germany remains committed to collaborating with Uganda to fight the unprecedented threat by the Desert Locust, says the Deputy Chief of Mission at the German Embassy, Hans von Schroeder. Also in times of the COVID-19 crisis, we must not hesitate to swiftly act on the other imminent dangers for Uganda´s people and economy.

East Africa is experiencing its worst invasion of Desert Locusts in decades. Tens of thousands of hectares of cropland and pasture have been damaged in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia. North-eastern Uganda is at significant risk of locust infestation that could bring severe consequences for agriculture-based livelihoods in the region. Food security is already fragile in Karamoja and Teso, with approximately 291 000 people considered severely food insecure. The Desert Locust invasion poses a potential threat to the food security of another 1.32 million people in both Karamoja and Teso.

Desert Locusts pose a major threat to food security and rural livelihoods because they can increase exponentially in numbers, with every new generation of breeding: a 20-time increase in their numbers after three months, 400 times after six months, and 8 000 times after nine months.

Uganda has so far experienced three waves of Desert Locust invasions: the first wave in February/March 2020; the second wave in April 2020; and the third in May 2020. In all three waves, the Desert Locust swarms from Kenya entered Uganda through Amudat District and later spread to other districts in Karamoja and districts in Teso, Sebei, Lango and Acholi sub-regions.

Uganda continues to be at risk as long as current significant Desert Locust presence in Kenya remains. While ground and aerial control operations are in progress, the recent rains continue to favour the new swarms to mostly stay in place, mature and lay eggs while a few swarms could move from Kenya to Uganda, Ethiopia, and South Sudan.

The Government of the Federal Republic of Germany expresses its commitment to supporting the Government of Uganda to strengthen the country’s response to the Desert Locust outbreak. About 15 300 farming and pastoralist households in the affected areas will benefit from the livelihoods recovery programme aimed at limiting the risk of vulnerable communities resorting to negative coping strategies.

FAO considers the fight against the rapid spread of Desert Locusts in East Africa one of its top priorities. Therefore, as part of its global appeal to support the fight against the Desert Locust outbreak, safeguard livelihoods and promote early recovery, FAO issued an emergency humanitarian appeal totaling $153.2 million. So far, the agency has received $117.3 million in donations from national governments, foundations and other organizations including the Federal Republic of Germany. FAO in Uganda has so far mobilized USD 10 million from its core resources and development partners.

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