Addis Ababa — Ethiopia is expediting its capacity to undertake anti-locust operations with the view to thwarting recent recurring desert locust invasions, according to Ministry of Agriculture.
Plant Health Care Director-General at the ministry, Girma Bekele told ENA that the logistics and human resources capacity of the nation has been improving.
It is to be recalled that the ministry had difficulty to carry out both aerial and ground operations to control the desert locust outbreaks since June 2019. The country has spent over 4.8 billion Birr to fight desert locusts in the past 20 months.
“We have enough now about 11 aircraft contracted from abroad in mission. We have also strengthened the group of experts on the ground for the operations,” the director-general said.
In addition, the ministry has concluded an agreement with National Airways to procure 5 aircraft and strengthen the logistics capacity to carry out effective anti-locust operations.
“So, we have the capacity and readiness to fight locust outbreak before it causes significant damage,” Girma stated.
Meanwhile, the ministry plans to decentralize its anti-locust operations by establishing units in Arba Minch, Kombolcha, and Dire Dawa.
“Units in these places will strengthen the human resources and logistics capacity to forecast locust outbreak and carry out control operations,” the director-general said.
Girma underscored the need to make these units operational to strengthen the logistics and human resources capacity of the ministry to sustainably undertake locust control operations across remote parts of the country.
According to him, the desert locust still persists in parts of Oromia and SNNPRs regions and there is a risk of breeding, considering the favorable spring season and migration from neighboring countries.