Mastercard Foundation & FAO Tackle Desert Locust Infestation

Photo: FAO/Sven Torfinn Kipsing, near Oldonyiro, Isiolo county, Kenya - A swarm of Desert Locusts flies in the region.

Desert Locust response to mitigate the impact on food security and livelihoods in Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Somalia, Eritrea, and Djibouti

Mastercard Foundation will contribute USD $10 million under a new partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to enable the expansion of operations to control the severe Desert Locust infestation in the Greater Horn of Africa.

The prevailing Desert Locust crisis is among the worst experienced with hundreds of thousands of hectares of cropland and pasture already damaged. The infestation poses significant risks to the agricultural sector in the affected countries, including the economic livelihoods of smallholder farmers and nomadic pastoralists.

The partnership will invest in three key areas over a 12-month period:

  1. Early detection of locust swarms to enable timely decision-making processes for ground and aerial control operations.
  2. Comprehensive ground and aerial spraying operations.
  3. Conducting an impact assessment and promoting environment, health, and safety measures for the safe use of pesticides.

The partnership will focus on implementing these interventions over 50,000 hectares of land across six affected countries, including Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Somalia, Eritrea, and Djibouti.

“It’s clear that the Desert Locust infestation poses an unprecedented threat to the affected communities, and particularly to the economic livelihoods of smallholder farmers,” said Reeta Roy, Mastercard Foundation President and CEO. “Agriculture is at the heart of Africa’s economic transformation and the majority of young people depend on it for their livelihoods. We need to ensure that we safeguard its potential as a pathway to prosperity and growth for the millions of young people living on the continent.”

Over the last decade, Mastercard Foundation has invested more than $1billion in agriculture-related programs in Africa. Agriculture remains a key sector of focus under the Foundation’s newly launched Young Africa Works strategy. Young Africa Works, developed in consultation with young people, policymakers, educators, and entrepreneurs, will extend dignified work to 30 million young people in Africa, 70 percent of whom will be young women, over the next 10 years.

FAO is closely coordinating with the governments of the affected countries. Each country is leading their response, typically through their Ministry of Agriculture, which guarantees the sustainability of the investments. Read more…

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