TANZANIA is among the countries in East and the Horn of Africa that are set to benefit from US Dollars 1.5million (about 3.4bn/-) dished out by the Africa Development Bank (AfDB) as an emergency grant to curb desert locusts.
The proposed assistance that was approved on Wednesday will be channelled to the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), which has been mandated to mobilise resources on behalf of the African Union.
Efforts to control the infestations will require around 147 million US Dollars (340bn/-), of which 75 million US Dollars (173bn/-) has been provided by governments, donors and UN agencies, including FAO and the World Food Programme (WFP).
However, a significant funding shortfall remains. Other beneficiary countries are Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, K enya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda.
According to a statement circulated to the media yesterday, the funds will be spent on curbing the spread of the current locust invasion, prevent potential next-generation swarms and to conduct an impact assessment and monitoring to enhance preparedness and awareness.
A portion of the funds would also be spent on meeting administrative costs.
“IGAD is collaborating with the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) which is leading the coordination of development partner support to provide desert locust invasion control, safeguarding livelihoods and to promote early recovery of affected households in the East and Horn of Africa. FAO will act as the Executing Agency for the grant,” the statement read in part.
Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia have been particularly hard hit by the outbreak and widespread breeding of locusts that is expected to create new swarms in the coming weeks.
The infestation poses an unprecedented risk to livelihoods and food security in an already fragile region and has caused huge damage to agricultural production.
Billions of locusts have been swarming throughout eastern Africa for months, ravaging crops and threatening the food source for millions of people in the region.
According to the UN, unusual climate conditions have enabled the locusts to reproduce more rapidly, and that the arrival of the rainy season from March through May will likely make matters worse.
Locust swarms are reportedly also threatening Uganda, Tanz ania, South Sudan, Sudan and Eritrea.
In Ethiopia, the locusts have devastated more than 30,000 hectares of crops, including coffee and tea that account for about 30 per cent of the nation’s exports.
Despite the government’s interventions, swarms and breeding have been reported in large parts of the country. In Djibouti, over 8 0 per cent of 1,700 agro-pastoral farms located in 2 3 production zones are affected by desert locust infestations.
Despite government efforts to curb the outbreak, at least 18 of 47 Kenyan counties are affected with more than 70,000 hectares of crops under infestation according to recent FAO reports.
Locust swarms are devastating pastureland, maize, cowpeas, beans and other crops. In Ethiopia and Somalia, the outbreak is the worst in 25 years, and in Kenya, in 70 years.