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Africa Solidarity Trust Fund donates $1 million to combat locust in Africa

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Christian Fernsby ▼ | February 10, 2020
The Africa Solidarity Trust Fund (ASTF) has donated $1 million to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations to combat the worsening Desert Locust upsurge in the Horn of Africa.
Food in Africa   Locust
The decision came at a meeting of the ASTF Steering Committee in FAO headquarters in Rome.

Topics: Africa locust

"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 is currently attending a ministerial briefing on Desert Locusts on the margins of the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa.

"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," said the the ASTF Steering Committee Chairperson, Maria De Fatima Jardim, who is also the Permanent Representative of Angola to FAO.

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.

The potential for destruction is enormous. A locust swarm of one square kilometre can eat the same amount of food in one day as 35,000 people.