FAO lauds Kenya for fight against desert locusts

This handout picture released by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)shows a member of Kenya's NYS -National Youth Service- sprays pesticides in an area infested with hopper bands of desert locust next to Lokichar, Turkana County, Kenya on June 9, 2020. (Photo: AFP)

NAIROBI, Nov. 17 (Xinhua) -- The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) on Tuesday commended Kenya for intensifying fight against desert locust's invasion in the country.

Carla Elisa Luis Mucavi, newly appointed FAO Representative to Kenya credited the agriculture ministry's well-coordinated approach in responding to the threat to food security risks posed by the locust invasion.

"I am confident that Kenya is better prepared to manage the incoming desert locust invasion, given the systems in place and capacity already built nation-wide," Mucavi said in a statement issued in Nairobi on Tuesday.

Mucavi, the first woman to hold the position of FAO Representative in Kenya commended Kenya for creating a food security war room and locust control coordination unit that is credited for providing early warning and mitigation measures that have kept the impact of the locusts on food security and livelihoods to the minimum.

The national of Mozambique said that FAO will continue to support the country's agricultural development programs like the National Agriculture Sector Growth and Transformation Strategy (2019-2029), FAO's Hand in Hand Initiative and the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) for Kenya.

"We intend to continue supporting Kenya to achieve agenda 2030 on sustainable development goal 2 of 100 percent food and nutrition security, implementation of the national livestock master plan and technical support in marine research," she added.

The official said that the UN food agency will soon provide a helicopter to supplement the Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) fleet in readiness to minimize the impact of the locusts during the current planting season.

Peter Munya, cabinet secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Cooperatives said that Kenya is currently coordinating surveillance and control measures of the impending invasion.

Munya was responding to FAO's recent warning of a pending desert locust invasion after sighting new breeding grounds in eastern Ethiopia and central Somalia.

The new swarms are expected to fly south to Kenya from mid-November and mid-December, according to FAO.

Munya said that the government is working closely with the KDF in spraying the affected regions.

He revealed that COVID-19 restriction measures, locust invasion, and flooding in parts of the country have interfered with food production and transportation in the country.

"Improved performance of agriculture, forestry, and fishing activities have cushioned the national economy from further decline during the period that the country faced three problems," he added.

The UN food agency has so far trained 160 surveillance scouts who will use the online Locust 3m app to report desert locust sightings and plans to increase the pool of desert locust experts by training 20 young professionals across the country.