FAO Update - Desert Locust Upsurge in the Greater Horn of Africa


Rome, 24 August 2020 - Thanks to significant control of the second breeding generation, FAO and partner Governments contributed to prevent massive movements of desert locust swarms to the Sudan summer breeding areas. This has reduced the imminent threat of the upsurge reaching the Sahel Region. 

The Federal Foreign Office is providing twenty million euro to cope with the plague.
The Federal Foreign Office is providing twenty million euro to cope with the plague.© Ben Curtis/AP/dpa

While the initial rounds of surveillance and control show substantial results across the Greater Horn of Africa, the battle against desert locusts is far from over.

There is a high probability that the upsurge will continue through 2021 – this is by no means a failure of current efforts as curbing the spread of desert locust does not have a single end point.

Accurate monitoring of swarms, weather conditions and preparedness measures will continue to play a critical role in protecting crops and livelihoods, today and in the future.

FAO and partner Governments remain on high alert as desert locust swarms will remain in East Africa and Yemen at least until the end of the year.

Since January 2020, 718 455 hectares have been treated across the Greater Horn of Africa and Yemen.

Significant progress has been made in Kenya, where the upsurge has been curbed from 29 counties infested down to two. Highlighting efforts in Kenya, a recent video series has been launched, presenting control efforts, support to farmers and the impact on pastoralists. 

To-date, the progress made by FAO country offices in support of governments equates to 9.34 million people meeting their cereal needs and 646 000 pastoral households being able to feed their livestock. In total, 1 437 000 metric tonnes of crops have been saved, with a value of USD 431 million.

Recently, FAO launched a Real-Time Evaluation (RTE) to rapidly learn from the ongoing response, identify opportunities for improvement and implement them in due course. The exercise is underway and will run from July 2020 to June 2021.

This exercise ensures that resources are being used efficiently in operational efforts, while informing current and future control efforts. Teams fighting the upsurge have been on the ground since March 2020, and many lessons have been learned in terms of best practices and improving field operations such as triangulation.

Background Information

FAO is grateful for the support of its generous donors. *

Continued surveillance and control, capacity building of a new generation of desert locust specialists, preparedness planning and data sharing resulting in better early warning and early action are all due in part to the direct funding of the appeals.

* The Governments of Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and United States of America, African Development Bank, Africa Solidarity Trust Fund, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, CERF, European Union, Louis Dreyfus Foundation, Mastercard Foundation, OCHA and World Bank Group.

(source: FAO Locust)

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