The Africa Solidarity Trust Fund (ASTF) has made a contribution of $1 million to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations to fight the deteriorating Desert Locust upsurge in East Africa.
The pronouncement came at a meeting of the ASTF Steering Committee at FAO head office in Rome on Wednesday.
Maria Helena Semedo, FAO’s Deputy Director-General for Climate and Natural Resources said: “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.”
“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.
Desert locust outbreak is threatening food security and livelihoods reeling from drought and deadly floods in the region. Dense clouds of the predatory insects have spread from Ethiopia and Somalia into Kenya.
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, according to FAO Locust Watch.
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 Africa Solidarity Trust Fund (ASTF) is an innovative Africa-led fund, which supports African development initiatives was launched in 2013 and is uniquely positioned to reinforce the capacities of affected African countries to combat the locust. The ASTF provides catalytic and ﬂexible funding to support Africa-to-Africa initiatives on food and agriculture systems, at the regional and country level.
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