KAMPALA – The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has donated $10 million (about Shs37 billion) towards combating desert locusts in East Africa.
The money was donated to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), a UN agency that is leading global efforts to defeat hunger and improve nutrition and food security.
FAO director-general QU Dongyu applauded Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for the donation and appealed to other donors to follow suit.
“I want to thank the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for its generous support as the Desert Locust threatens to provoke a humanitarian crisis,” Qu said.
“I urge other donors to follow their lead so we can protect rural livelihoods and assist farmers and their families,” he added.
FAO is seeking $138 million to assist Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Eritrea and other countries that have been impacted by the locusts. It has so far received $33m.
In Kenya, swarms have caused massive destruction in more than 20 counties, including Isiolo, Meru, Embu, Kitui, Samburu, Nyeri, Kisumu among others. The latest region affected is Western Kenya.
In Uganda, the Minister of agriculture, Mr Charles Sempijja has said the ministry needs another Shs16 billion to fight locusts that has spread to 23 districts across northern part of the country.
According to Mr Sempijja, the response team against locusts have been alerted of another huge swarm building in Turkana area of Kenya and would attack the country anytime.