UK supports FAO’s locust-fighting efforts with £17 million contribution

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ROME: The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) today welcomed a £ 17 million contribution from the United Kingdom to support efforts to combat the ongoing desert locust surge in East Africa and its potentially devastating impacts.

“We are once again grateful to the United Kingdom for their consistent support, which will go far helping to safeguard the food security and livelihoods of vulnerable farmers and their families in Africa and Asia threatened by desert locust,” said FAO Director-General QU Dongyu.

The funds come via the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) and are in addition to a previous contribution of £ 8 million donated earlier this year for the desert locust appeal. The contribution from the United Kingdom will scale up ongoing efforts in East Africa, Yemen and Southwest Asia. DFID today also announced an additional £ 1 million which will be dedicated to supporting several institutions, including the University of Cambridge to establish tools, technologies and partnerships needed for effective pest surveillance, forecasting and early warning activities.

FAO is augmenting governments and other partners’ capacities in affected countries with surveillance and coordination, technical advice, supplies and equipment. The UN agency is also providing farmers with livelihood packages, assuring veterinary care and feed for vegetation-starved livestock, and assisting families who have lost their crops with cash and farming inputs so they put food on the table. With just a 1 km2 swarm able to consume the same amount of food in one day as 35 000 people, the pest poses an unprecedented threat to the immediate food security and longer-term resilience of millions of vulnerable famers and pastoralists.