KENYA – The World Bank has injected ksh.4.3 billion (US$40.3m) to finance the Emergency Locust Response Program (ELRP) in Kenya targeting to restore the livelihood of farmers in the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASAL) areas that have been affected by the locust invasion.

The project will be implemented in the next three years and the financing will also incorporate surveillance control and long term sustainability.

The restoration programme is further designed to strengthen farmer producer organizations to facilitate access to inputs, services and output markets for sustainable restoration of their livelihoods.

“Livelihood rebuilding programme seeks to provide grants for input support through the micro projects to get crop and livestock production restored,” said Vinay Kumar a senior agriculture economist with World Bank.

The line of credit for Kenya is part of a larger US$500m emergency locust response project approved by World Bank to help countries in Africa and the Middle East fight the locust swarms.

The 29 ASAL counties in Kenya targeted are Kwale, Kilifi, Tana River, Lamu, Taita Taveta, Garissa, Wajir, Mandera, Marsabit, Isiolo, Kitui, Machakos, Makueni, Turkana, West Pokot, Samburu, Elgeyo Marakwet, Baringo, Laikipia, Narok, Kajiado, Nyeri, Tharaka Nithi, Meru, Embu, Migori, Homa Bay, Nakuru and Kiambu, reports KBC.

According to reports by Kenyan News Agency, Last month, Agriculture Ministry in partnership with the Food Authority Organisation (FAO) commissioned an impact assessment team under the leadership of Kenya Red Cross Society to evaluate the damage caused by desert locusts in the affected 16 counties.

A preliminary report reveals that more than one million hectares of crop and pasture land have been affected by the dangerous pest since last year, December.

Strategies to restore livelihood by various players targeting to support farmers and communities who have suffered economically following the desert locusts’ invasion in the country since December 2019 have been continuing.

Due to the intensified efforts by all the players, the numbers of counties affected have reduced from the initial 28 to the current four i.e. Turkana, Samburu, Marsabit and Isiolo.

As at the moment the government of Kenya is working with, FAO of the United Nations, World Bank, Desert Locust and Control Organisation (DLCO) and African Development Bank (AfDB), among other organizations.

“We are on top of the game and our hope is that in the next few months, we will have fully tamed the pest,” said Agriculture Principal Secretary Hamadi Boga and added that the next phase targets livelihood rebuilding of the affected communities.

The PS explained that the Aerial and ground spray of swarms and hoppers has been on going in 17 counties where settling and breeding of swarms and hoppers had been taking place and this was undertaken following the support of National government and partners to the tune of Sh 2.4 billion (US$22.5m).

Other resources that have been used to fight the pest, he noted, include vehicle mounted and motorized sprayers, hands held ULV sprayers, personal protective equipment (PPEs) and 700 knapsack sprayers.

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