The United Nations Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO) handed over the second of six aircraft that are being sent to help Ethiopia fight the desert locust invasion on Friday, March 20, 2020. The FAO Representative to Ethiopia, Fatouma Seid handed over the aircraft to Oumer Hussein, minister of Agriculture with the intention of expanding aerial control in the battle against the desert locust. Two weeks ago the Ministry of Agriculture received the first aircraft from FAO. The event, which took place at the Addis Abeba Bole International Airport was attended by Sani Redi, state minister for Agriculture, and David Phiri, FAO’s sub-regional coordinator for East Africa. FAO’s support is timely and vital to control the desert locust before Meher, the main planting season that begins in a few months, according to Oumer. “The desert locust caused huge damage on sorghum and pastoral lands," he said. "It'll threaten the approaching planting season if we don't put it under control.” The swarm of the desert locust, the worst in a quarter of a century, has affected six regional states of Ethiopia and has already threatened the livelihoods of smallholder farmers and cattle herders by damaging crops and pastoral land since June 2019.
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