Fatouma Seid, FAO Representative to Ethiopia, handed over the aircraft intended to boost aerial control of the desert locust, to Ethiopia’s Minister of Agriculture, Oumer Hussien.
Present at the handover ceremony that took place at the Addis Ababa Bole International Airport, were also Sani Redi, State Minister of Agriculture, and David Phiri, FAO Sub-regional Coordinator for Easter Africa, among others.
Oumer on the occasion noted, FAO’s support is timely and vital to control the desert locust, before the meher and main planting seasons start in few months.
“Desert locust caused huge damage on sorghum pasture. Unless we control, it will threaten the approaching planting seasons. The aircrafts & other supports from FAO are crucial to upscale our effort,” he added.
The Ministry of Agriculture received the first aircraft two weeks ago.
The desert locust, the worst in 25 years, has affected six regions of Ethiopia and already threatened the livelihoods of smallholder farmers and cattle herders by damaging crop and pasture since June 2019.
The problem has persisted over the last ten months in several parts of the country. There are cyclic multiplications in the Somali region and new swarms from Somalia, Yemen and through Kenya are entering.
Swarms continue to increase and are moving south towards the Rift Valley – the breadbasket of the country. If unchecked, numbers could grow 500 times by June 2020.