Additional Aircraft to Join Fight Against Locusts

EU Chips in €4mln to FAO’s desert locust operations in Ethiopia

ADDIS ABABA – The European Union’s aid agency, ECHO, has contributed €4.1 million to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)’s desert locust control program in Ethiopia, the UN agency said.

With the funding, FAO said it will lease two fixed-wing aircraft and two helicopters and procure fuel, vehicles, and trucks.

The Organization will also conduct an environmental assessment and facilitate the construction of storage facilities for the Ministry of Agriculture’s most strategic locations for desert locust operations, including the central storage in Addis Ababa.

Representative of FAO in Ethiopia, Fatouma Seid, thanked ECHO for supporting the desert locust survey and control program, saying, “the funding is timely and will boost our efforts to enhance preparedness while maintaining ongoing field operations for the next nine months.”

Since 2019, FAO has been supporting the Government of Ethiopia to respond to the worst desert locust invasion in the country in 25 years.

To date, control operations in Ethiopia have prevented the loss of 2 513 290 MT of cereal, with a market value of $754 million, according to recent estimates.

This achievement is equivalent to the annual cereal needs of 16.3 million people. Moreover, the livestock feed loss prevented is substantial, although not systematically quantified, according to FAO.

“Although the operations have succeeded in limiting widespread breeding of desert locusts, it is paramount to sustain the concerted efforts to reduce invasion and breeding,” noted Ms. Seid.

The Government continues to lead desert locust survey and control operations where FAO provides early warning, expertise, logistical support, and resources.

This ECHO-funded “Support for critical Desert Locust survey and control operations in Ethiopia and Somalia” project is part of FAO’s multi-donor program, which runs from May 2021 and January 2022.

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