The Emergency Locust Response Program (ELRP), approved by the World, will focus on providing immediate assistance to help poor and vulnerable farmers, herders, and rural households overcome one of the worst locust upsurges in decades.
ELRP will provide immediate support to affected households through targeted social safety nets like cash transfers, while investing in the medium-term recovery of agriculture and livestock production systems and rural livelihoods.
Uganda is among the first countries to be financed under the initial phase of the program.
Others are: Djibouti, Ethiopia, and Kenya, with a total financing package of $160 million.
The $48million ( about Ugx, 181 billion) will finance surveillance and control measures. It will also finance interventions to protect and rehabilitate livelihoods through temporary employment programs and activities that boost resilience, such as water and soil conservation activities, the adoption of agro-forestry technologies and practices, and the buildout of market infrastructure.
“Locust swarms present a double crisis for countries that are also battling the COVID-19 pandemic,” said World Bank Group President David Malpass. “Together, this food supply emergency combined with the pandemic and economic shutdown in advanced economies places some of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people at even greater risk.”
East Africa already has 22.5 million severely food insecure people and 10.8 million forcibly displaced people, according to the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
The World Bank has estimated that, without broad-scale, coordinated control measures to reduce locust populations and prevent their spread to new areas, potential damages and losses to crop and livestock production and related assets in the greater Horn of Africa, could reach as high as $8.5 billion by the end of this year.
In addition to protecting livelihoods, physical assets and human capital of affected households, the program will deliver seed packages and other inputs to affected households to help restore farm production and livelihoods as quickly as possible. It will also finance investments to strengthen surveillance and early warning systems so that countries are better prepared to combat future outbreaks.
As of early May 2020, locust swarms have infested 23 countries across East Africa. This upsurge is the biggest outbreak faced by some countries in 70 years. Favorable breeding conditions through May will likely result in a new round of swarms in late June and July, coinciding with the start of the harvest season.