Connect with us

AFRICA

East Africa: Preventing another Desert Locust Upsurge

Published

on

Rome — $11.2 million partnership with the Mastercard Foundation to aid control and recovery efforts

While the Desert Locust upsurge that swept through the Horn of Africa and Yemen may be declining, it is critical to continue implementing control efforts against any new swarms and monitoring subsequent breeding in the region until at least the end of the year, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

A new $11.2 million partnership with the Mastercard Foundation means that locust surveillance and control efforts are now fully supported to the end of the year.

“Depending on weather conditions and our ability to reach breeding and migration areas, the upsurge could be over by the end of 2021 or in early 2022,” said Rein Paulsen, the Director of FAO’s Office of Emergencies and Resilience.

“Until then, we must not drop our guard. Thanks to the generous contributions of various partners, national teams guided by FAO experts are continuing to undertake the necessary survey and control operations in the affected countries.”

The campaign against Desert Locusts in the Greater Horn of Africa and Yemen has been underway since January 2020. FAO and the affected countries have gained major successes in containing the worst recorded locust upsurge in Ethiopia and Somalia in 25 years and the worst infestations seen in Kenya in70 years.

East Africa: Preventing another Desert Locust Upsurge

The Minister for Agriculture of Somaliland sits in a meeting with FAO delegates in Hargeisa, Somaliland. Wednesday 4th March, 2020. The Minister for Agriculture, Ahmed Mumin Seed, said that they fear a nation-wide disaster brought on by the nymphs left behind by the locusts swarms that stripped fields and damaged crops last year. He added that some of the nymphs have already been spotted in the coastal areas of Somaliland such a Zeylac. “We are informing our partners that these nymphs are waiting for the first drops of rain to hatch and that if it does so, it will bring on us a great deal of damage”.

With the support of 29 partners and FAO’s own resources, more than $230 million was mobilized for the locust campaign. The Mastercard Foundation previously partnered with FAO in April 2020 contributing $10 million to the early detection of locust swarms, ground and aerial spraying operations, and impact assessments on the ground.

Advertisement

“The Desert Locust swarms weren’t just eating away at crops; they were eating away livelihoods, productivity, and the livelihoods of smallholder farmers. As a foundation committed to enabling access to opportunity in Africa, we felt compelled to step up and address the crisis. The progress FAO has made is deeply encouraging—and holding on to the ground gained is critical to a process of reclaiming hope for farmers and communities in the region,” said Daniel Hailu, Mastercard Foundation’s Regional Director, East and Southern Africa.

Control operations undertaken by FAO and its partners protected the livelihoods of more than 40 million people in rural areas, saving crops and pasture and thereby securing households’ cereal and milk supplies. FAO estimates that around 4.4 million tonnes of cereal crops and some 878 million litres of milk were saved and the value of saved production exceeded $1.7 billion.

East Africa: Preventing another Desert Locust Upsurge

31 March 2020 Lewa Wildlife Conservancy airstrip, close to Isiolo, Isiolo county, Kenya. Pilot from Orsmond Aviation, South Africa based company, ready for take off on mission to do aerial spraying. Spray airplanes on the airstrip, ground crew are fueling the plane and loading it with chemicals in preparation for aerial spraying to fight locusts swarms in the area.

“It was an extraordinary effort in a short space of time. Together, we not only controlled the onslaught of this insidious pest but FAO managed to strengthen locust fighting capacity in East Africa from near zero in some places to a high level of readiness,” said Paulsen.

The Desert Locust is considered the most destructive migratory pest in the world and a small swarm covering one square kilometre can eat the same amount of food in one day as 35 000 people.

Swarms the size of cities were vanquished and now a very small number of remnant swarms remain in Ethiopia and Somalia. Kenya is locust free and Djibouti and Eritrea are relatively calm and under control.

Lingering risks

Despite progress, there is continuing concern about northern Ethiopia where new swarms have formed in the past month as local conflict has limited control operations. The swarms may pose a risk to the critical Meher season harvest, already anticipated to be 40 percent below normal.

Advertisement

FAO forecasts suggest these swarms will migrate north out of Ethiopia or into eastern regions of the country where control operations are possible. However, there is concern about how many might remain and whether they threaten crops in a highly food insecure region.

New swarms from Yemen where controls remain a challenge could also pose a threat if they move south across the Gulf of Aden and reinvade the Horn of Africa.

East Africa: Preventing another Desert Locust Upsurge

2 June 2020, Loima, Kenya – A Turkana man stands at a severely damaged sorghum crop part of his community farm providing food for 100 households in Loima, Turkana County, Kenya. An increasing number of second-generation immature swarms continue to form in northwest Kenya.

Livelihoods support for farmers and their families

Despite the success of the locust control operations, up to 2.5 million people were affected by the upsurge in 2020 in addition to at least another 1 million in early 2021.

FAO has been helping farmers who suffered locust damage with agricultural support packages, providing veterinary care for vegetation-starved livestock, and making cash transfers to families who have lost their crops so that they can purchase food.

To mitigate the devastating impact on livelihoods, FAO provided diverse support to over 300 000 farming, agro-pastoral and pastoral households, while an additional 347 000 families were assisted by partner non‐governmental organizations under the Regional Desert Locust Alliance (RDLA). Together, these activities assisted over 4 million people.

While regional and local preparedness and field operations are much improved, they can only be supported with effective forecasting and early warning, which FAO’s Desert Locust Information Service has been providing for more than 50 years.

Advertisement
Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

AFRICA

AICC: Egyptian Grandmasters Dominate Tourney

Published

on

With just two rounds left to play, top Nigerian chess players have dropped out in the ranking at the on-going African Individual Chess Championship holding at the Orchid Hotel in Lekki, Lagos.

Although Nigerian players showed shade of genius in the battle field as the tournament reached its climax on Sunday night, the Egyptian who are higher rated players dominate play with Adly Ahmed (African number 2) and Woman Grandmaster Wafa Shahenda leading the pack of other players in both Open and Women sections.

Both have consolidated their lead in the competition, as every win counts to games 4 and 5.

WGM Wafa trounced her Angolan opponent, Woman International Master Esperanca Caxita, in a Sicilian opening with black mostly dominating the game right from the middle play.

The Egyptian WGM is all but a massive one point ahead of the pack leading into the final rounds starting this morning.

While the Egyptian masters are dominating play, credit also goes to some Nigerians raising their heads to be countedNigeria Youth Games product, Onoja Iyefu Joy continues to show resilience and determination to earn her first chess title and create a record while at it.

Advertisement

She had on Saturday continued her fine run of form by scoring an entire point against Paulo Jemima to register the second position on the ranking table with 9 points. A win in the 7th round will help Joy secure a Woman International Master Title.

WIM (elect) Ofowino Toritsemuwa bettered her AICC Tunisia 2019 record, and she is bound to create a new one as she takes on WGM Wafa in the seventh round.

Toritsemuwa currently shares second place with her compatriot, Iyefu Onoja, both holding 4.5 points, hence making the 7th game point as crucial for the player.

In the Open section, 20-year-old Eyetonghan Denyefa Callistus is pulling his weight. He scored an outstanding 4.5 points after six games, but it is not about the score, somewhat the opponents; defeating 1 GM, 2 IMs, and three draws against two IMs and FM, the youngster will get his chance at GM Adly in the seventh round.

With a half point behind the tournament leader, African Number 1–GM AminBassem landed his second consecutive win after the drawn game with compatriot GM Ahmed Adly, demonstrating he still stands a chance to catch up and maybe win the tournament.

Bassem faces IM David Silva of Angola in the seventh round, who had to offer a draw to his opponent in the sixth round due to health issues. We hope he’s gotten his strength back for this crucial game.

Advertisement

The tournament ends tomorrow with Maltina and Gulder are among the top sponsor of the event.

Continue Reading

AFRICA

Don’t vote for ‘killers’ in 2023 elections – ex-President Jonathan urges Nigerian youths

Published

on

A former President of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan, has urged Nigerians not to elect “killers” in the 2023 general elections.

Mr Johnathan stated this on Sunday in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State during a thanksgiving service to mark the 35th anniversary of the state.

Mr Johnathn and his wife, Patience, were the special guests of honour at the service which was also attended by the governor of his home state — Bayelsa — Douye Diri.

“In 2023, you must not make the mistake to vote killers. Those who carry knives, guns, and all kinds of gadgets to go and kill people because of politics, are the enemies of society.

“If you kill to become a leader, you will continue to kill to remain a leader and the people will continue to suffer.”

The former president said he has monitored the growth of Akwa Ibom, adding that he has been visiting the state at least once a year since he joined the defunct Oil Mineral Producing Areas Development Commission, now Niger Delta Development Commission, in 1994 as an assistant director.

While thanking the youth of the state for not vandalising infrastructure, the former president recalled how some people sabotaged his development efforts in the power sector by using arc saws to fell towers because they wanted Nigeria to remain in darkness.

Advertisement

Mr Johnathan said the election of the State Governor, Udom Emmanuel, should teach politicians a good lesson, especially those who doubted Mr Emmanuel’s ability to manage “human beings”.

Governor Emmanuel was an executive director at Zenith Bank before he was appointed Secretary to Akwa Ibom State Government, a position he later resigned from to vie for the governorship of the state which he won in 2015.

Akwa Ibom is ‘strong national story’ – Gov Emmanuel

Earlier in his speech, Mr Emmanuel thanked the people of the state for their support and described this year’s state anniversary as his last as the state governor.

The governor said Akwa Ibom has become a state with a “strong national story and a sparkling destination of choice for Nigerians and others around the world”.

He appreciated the people for the choice of “Moving Forward,” as the theme of the celebrations but also reminded them that in “moving forward we have to also look back.”

He referenced Joseph, a Biblical figure who later became the Prime Minister of Egypt and added that the children of Israel suffered because of Joseph’s mistake.

“Joseph made a mistake in Egypt when he was about to go, he did not look at the issue of who succeeded him and that is why the children of Israel suffered.

Advertisement

“If you are a God-sent man you must also learn. I’ve learnt from what Joseph did and today we went back to God and I want to appreciate all Akwa Ibomites because a man after God’s heart will come after another man after God’s heart,” Mr Emmanuel said.

He promised to complete before leaving office next year, the international worship centre that his administration is building in the state.

Continue Reading

AFRICA

Knocks, Kudos as Peter Obi promises 100m poor Nigerians ‘access to free medical care’

Published

on

Mixed reactions have trailed the promise by the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi, stating that his administration will prioritise the welfare of the poor Nigerians if elected.

Obi said youths would be the proponent of his agenda to transform the economy.

“If elected the next president of Nigeria, youths would be the main proponents of my main agenda to transform Nigeria from a consuming nation to a producing nation. The two main components of this agenda are human capital development and finance.”

Obi further said health and education are vital to the development of the country, promising to ensure “at least 100 million poor Nigerians have access to free medical care”.

“Given the role of health in reinforcing education in the measure of productivity, my leadership will pay serious attention to the health system by ensuring that at least 100 million poor Nigerians have access to free medical services through an integrated health insurance scheme.”

Obi’s promise which has gone viral, generated divergent reactions on social media platforms.

While some supporters of Obi believed the promise made by their candidate is possible, they argued in support that the country is buoyant enough to take care of citizens’ medical care.

Reacting, a Twitter user; @el_bonga posited: “Peter Obi governed Anambra State for 8 years and he couldn’t provide the state— probably less than 10 million— with free healthcare but he wants to give free medical care to 100 million Nigerians. Interestingly, under his watch, Doctors went on a 13-month strike in Anambra in 2013.”

Advertisement

Favour Abdalla Destiny said: “The problem is not to vote; the problem is that they know how to promise and after election they will forget all.”

kingharzyz1 argued: “How is this possible? Can you even do free medical care for carcinoma patients alone? Aspirants need to start telling us “How”.

Another user @tha_niel said: “Affordable healthcare is different from free healthcare. Affordable is realistic because the beneficiaries wld contribute an amount. We cannot have a subsidised economy yet. Except when we begin to efficiently recognise all revenues and apply subsidies where it’s needed.”

Oluwashola @Sholexx_ said: “Health is very expensive. Even in the US, you can’t get free medical healthcare due to the cost. What you can get anywhere in the world is subsidised healthcare via health insurance. He should be realistic with his electoral promises.”

Defending Obi’s promise, @drpenking stated that: “Peter Obi said that 100m Nigerians will have access to free medical care and you people think it’s not possible. In Akwa Ibom State there has been free medical care for elderly, children and pregnant women. Our country is rich enough to do these things. Politicians just refuse it”

@urchilla01 said: “This is why I’ve always said that this election should be about antecedents. There’s nothing Peter Obi says he’ll do that he didn’t do as Governor. This is the famous “Anambra ANIDS card” with which students, disabled, & elderly accessed free health care in govt hospitals. ‘

“Under Peter Obi’s Government. When we say #GoAndVerify verify, it is because we fear not for what you will find. Our principal na talk & do. A comprehensive integrated health insurance scheme made this possible, just the same way he said he’ll do it.”

Advertisement
Continue Reading

AFRICA

ASUU: Seven months after, FG orders VC’s to reopen schools

Published

on

The Academic Staff Union of Universities has been on strike for about seven months now.

The association is demanding from FG the funding of the Revitalisation of Public Universities, Earned Academic Allowances, University Transparency Accountability Solution (UTAS) and promotion arrears.

Others are the renegotiation of the 2009 ASUU-FG Agreement and the inconsistency in Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System.

Recall that the federal government went to court to challenge the action of the association. Last week the national industrial court through Polycarp Hamman, the judge in the NIC, granted the federal government’s application for an interlocutory injunction to restrain ASUU from continuing with the strike.

The outcome of the judgement was questioned by Femi Falana, human rights lawyer and senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN), who stated that the national industrial court does not have jurisdiction to rule on the case between the federal government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).

However, tired of the lingering strike the Federal Government through the National Universities Commission ordered vice-chancellors to re-open schools and allow students resume lectures.

In a letter disclosed to journalists on Monday, signed by the Director, Finance and Accounts of the NUC, Sam Onazi, on behalf of the Executive Secretary of the commission, Professor Abubakar Rasheed, FG instructed all vice-chancellors; Pro-Chancellors and chairmen of governing councils of federal universities to re-open schools.

Advertisement

“Ensure that ASUU members immediately resume/commence lectures; Restore the daily activities and routines of the various University campuses”, part of the letter read.

Continue Reading

Weekly Podcast

Advertisement Enter ad code here

Most Viewed Posts

Tags

ANTVT ADVERTS

Facebook

Trending

error: Content is protected !!