FAO and Belgium support Southern Africa in the fight against the African migratory locust

FAO and Belgium support Southern Africa in the fight against the African migratory locust

18/12/2020

Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe have been facing a serious outbreak of the African migratory locust (AML) (Locusta migratoria migratorioides) since May 2020. Damage to summer crops was limited as harvesting had already occurred. However, irrigated crops, winter crops and the next season of summer crops are now in jeopardy. About 1.1 million hectares have already been affected, according to the Food and Nutrition Security Working Group (FSNWG). 

The AML is a transboundary pest capable of flying long distances and severely affecting crops, pastures as well as food security, nutrition and livelihoods. According to the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC), about 2.3 million people already facing acute food insecurity (IPC Phase 3) are likely to be seriously impacted by AML in Zimbabwe, Zambia and Namibia.

The Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) has launched a regional appeal for USD 20 million for a coordinated response, including financial and technical support, to address the surging impact of AML in the region. Under this framework, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is working with SADC and the International Red Locust Control Organization for Central and Southern Africa (IRLCO-CSA) to support the governments of the affected countries in the fight against locusts. 

To date, all funds received under the appeal have been mobilized by FAO through the Organization’s Technical Cooperation Programme with a USD 500 000 project and from the Central Emergency Response Fund with USD 2 million. Through the Special Fund for Emergency and Rehabilitation Activities (SFERA), an additional USD 500 000 from the Government of Belgium will contribute to the regional appeal by increasing the emergency response capacity of the SADC’s five affected member countries. In particular, the capacity to control and prevent the pest from spreading further and damaging crops and livestock grazing, key sources of food security and nutrition and the livelihoods of many vulnerable households.

With Belgium’s generous support, the project will procure and deliver appropriate biopesticides, personnel protective equipment, specialized locust control equipment and health monitoring material to strengthen the capacity of locust control units to implement sound ground operations. It will build on FAO’s global experience in responding to locust threats. It will use a synergetic and collective impact approach with respect to other AML projects that may be funded. 

In close collaboration with SADC, IRLCO-CSA and other UN agencies, FAO will continue to support coordination, dialogue, advocacy and risk communication with all stakeholders. FAO will also support consultations with the affected communities and other partners for the inclusion of specific AML related livelihoods interventions in country-based responses.