Thousands of acres of farmland in Somalia were devastated by locusts in 2020. Photo AP

Somalia has joined the Commission for Controlling the Desert Locust in the Central Region (CRC), a food security agency under the Food and Agriculture Organization (FOA) of the United Nations.

Somalia becomes the 17th member of the organisation, with countries such as Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE as members.

''The Government of Somalia is committed to working with the other Member States of the Commission to control the desert locust in the Central Region and to mitigate the devastating effects of this pest on our agriculture and food security,'' Minister for Agriculture and Irrigation, Ahmed Madobe Nunow, said in a statement on Wednesday.

In February 2020, Somalia declared a state of emergency after large swarms of locusts devastated more than 70,000 hectares of land, worsening Somalia's food crisis in 40 years.

Locust plague

FOA says an average locust swarm destroys crops that could feed 2,500 people for a year.

"We are proud to welcome Somalia to the Commission. This is an important milestone to integrate Somalia in this regional coordination body,’’ said Shoki AlDobai, Team Leader for FAO's Locusts and other Transboundary Plant Pests and Diseases.

Since the 2020 infestation, Somalia has made progress in building technical capacity for locust control, says the FOA.

‘’Somalia being a key breeding country for locust, having it in the Commission will not benefit only Somalia but neighbouring countries as well by reinforcing the monitoring and early warning in the region,'' the FOA added in its statement.

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TRT Afrika