China donates much-needed anti-locust materials to Ethiopia


The Chinese government on Monday donated batches of much-needed anti-locust materials to Ethiopia as the East African country fights the worst desert locust invasion in its recent history.

XinhuaUpdated: October 20, 2020

The Chinese government on Monday donated batches of much-needed anti-locust materials to Ethiopia as the East African country fights the worst desert locust invasion in its recent history.

The batch of anti-locust donation by the Chinese government, among other things, include 72 tons of pesticides, 2,000 units of hand-held ULV sprayers as well as 20,000 sets of personal protective gear, it was noted.

Liu Yu, Economic and Commercial Counselor at the Chinese Embassy in Ethiopia, affirmed China's continued support as the East African country is suffering from the worst locust invasion in 25 years.

Noting that both China and Ethiopia are large agricultural countries with a huge population, where the agriculture sector plays a fundamental role in safeguarding social stability and promoting economic development, Liu stressed that "a friend in need is a friend indeed."

"China and Ethiopia enjoy long-standing cooperation in the agriculture sector," Liu said, as she emphasized that the latest cooperation in the fight against the desert locust invasion in the East African country exhibits two countries' historic ties in the agriculture sector.

Since June 2019, the East African country has been suffering from the worst desert locust invasion in about 25 years, affecting major crop-producing parts of the country.

Ethiopia's State Minister of Agriculture, Mandefro Nigussie, also during the handing over ceremony commended the Chinese government for the "timely and much-needed" support to Ethiopia's fight to control the desert locust invasion.

"China and Ethiopia have a long-standing relationship and they have a long history. And we think that China and Ethiopia share several features. Agriculture is the mainstay for Ethiopia, and agriculture is also an important economic sector in China. In this sector we have several relationships. We have grants and supports from the Chinese government, and we appreciate the support we are getting from the Chinese government," the Ethiopian State Minister said.

"We would like to extend our appreciation to the desert locust control protective equipments, desert locust control chemicals, and spraying machines," Nigussie said, as he emphasized that the materials "are important inputs in controlling the current challenging pest, especially in five major regions Tigray, Amhara, Oromia, Afar, Somali, and one city administration."

"Currently, our team is fighting against this pest and your support is a special weapon to help them win the desert locust control," he added.

Last week, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) had warned that desert locust swarms will likely worsen the situation in the Horn of Africa region.

"The situation is expected to deteriorate as more swarms and another generation of breeding commences from the Red sea to Somalia, which could be supplemented by swarms coming from Yemen," the FAO had said on Wednesday.

"This is likely to threaten Kenya where swarms could arrive in the north from mid-November onwards," FAO further stated.

It also disclosed northern and eastern parts of Ethiopia are expected to be significantly affected by the desert locust swarms in the coming days.

"More immature swarms have formed in Ethiopia's Afar region in the northeast along the western side of the Rift valley," the FAO disclosed.

According to the Ethiopian government, a locust invasion has affected parts of major crop producing Amhara, Oromia, Tigray, the Ethiopia Somali, Afar regional states as well as the Dire Dawa city administration.

The Ethiopian government and international humanitarian partners have already warned the combined effects of COVID-19 and locust invasion are creating a humanitarian crisis in Ethiopia.

They warned swarms of multiplying desert locusts have been destroying pastures and crops, leading to further food insecurity.

The desert locust, which is considered as the "most dangerous of the nearly one dozen species of locusts," is a major food security peril in desert areas across 20 countries, stretching from west Africa all the way to India, covering nearly 16 million square kilometers, according to the United Nations.