Somaliland has opened its first pest control centre aimed at mitigating the impacts of desert locusts on food security and livelihoods. The centre, based in Hargeisa, will act as an early-warning and control base.
It was implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) with funding from the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
The worst desert locust crisis in decades hit the Greater Horn of Africa in late 2019, causing significant damage to tens of thousands of hectares of cropland and pasture, and exacerbating an already fragile food security situation.
In Somaliland, where the majority of people depend on agriculture and livestock for their livelihoods, the desert locust crisis threatened the livelihoods of rural families who were already facing the impacts of recurrent climate shocks such as droughts and floods.
The opening of the centre was commissioned by Abdirahman Abdallahi Ismail Saylici, vice president of Somaliland, and Abdikadir Iman Warsame, minister of agricultural development. Also present at the ceremony were FAO head of programme Ezana Kassa, Dr Ahmed Adan Ahmed, minister of planning and national development, and Abdirisaq Hussein Albaani, minister of endowment and religious affairs.
“We thank all those who made this possible, particularly FAO, the donors who funded these projects and the Ministry of Agricultural Development,” said Saylici. He added that the centre is an important facility to battle food insecurity, a threat that has increased in part due to desert locusts that can have a negative effect on productivity.
FAO had been working with the government of Somaliland to control the 2019 to 2021 upsurge and to build the capacity of the government to respond to and manage future upsurges in a timely manner.
The newly established centre will help the Somaliland government lead in management of the crisis, and ensure they are better prepared for such challenges in the future.
“FAO has always been aware of the important role Somaliland has played in the global early warning system for desert locusts, not only to secure the livelihoods of those who might be affected in Somaliland but also in preventing the spread of the Desert Locust spreads to other parts of the Horn of Africa and beyond,” said Ezana Kassa, FAO’s head of programme.
The opening of the pest control centre in Somaliland is an important step towards mitigating the impacts of desert locusts on food security and livelihoods in the region.
“This is an important facility to battle food insecurity, a threat that has increased in part due to Desert Locusts that can have a negative effect on productivity. With the support of FAO and our partners, we will continue to strengthen our efforts to build resilience to climate shocks and protect the livelihoods of rural families in Somaliland,” said Saylici.