The World Bank Group Thursday approved a US$500 million Emergency Locust Response Program, ELRP to help countries in Africa and the Middle East fight the locust swarms that are threatening the food security and livelihoods of millions of people.
World Bank announced this in a press statement released on Thursday
According to the press release, ELRP 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 in affected countries.
The first countries to be financed under the initial phase of the program are Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda, with a total financing package of US$160 million.
As of early May 2020, locust swarms have infested 23 countries across East Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia. 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.
The program’s design builds on the strong technical foundation of desert locust management created by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), which is already working with affected countries to ensure locust control operations are done safely and effectively. The World Bank and the FAO will enhance their ongoing collaboration through the program.