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Social inclusion must become backbone of development: FAO

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credit: www.fao.org

By NewsGram Staff Writer

Rome: Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Director General, Jose Graziano da Silva insisted that Social inclusion must become the backbone of development.

credit: www.un.org
credit: www.un.org

Prensa Latina news agency quoted da Silva as saying, “yet we will achieve neither social inclusion nor development, unless our choices are guided by sustainability.”

“The next 15 years will be decisive for our planet’s future. During this period, we will face some of the 21st century’s greatest challenges, amidst an ongoing and profound transition in the global economy,” he said.

“Today, nearly 800 million people do not have enough food to eat. Yet enough food is being produced in the world to feed everyone. Clearly, we need urgent solutions to overcome the structural bottlenecks that prevent the hungry from accessing food.”

“We are the first generation that can end hunger and make food and nutrition security truly universal. And perhaps we are also the last generation in a position to avoid irreversible damage brought about by climate change.”

“The political framework needed to move us in the right direction requires an unprecedented degree of political commitment.”

“One critical step in that direction will be taken later this month, when the international community endorses the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, with an ambitious agenda to change the world for betterment in the next 15 years,” da Silva said.

He further said, “This new global pact for the future crucially includes ending poverty and hunger by 2030, mitigating and adapting to climate change and finding more sustainable ways to make supply meet demand.”

“The choices we make as consumers have now become just as important for the future as the ones we make as producers,” he added.

(With inputs from IANS)

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New Locust Swarms Threaten Agriculture in Ethiopia

New Swarms of Locusts Threaten Crops, Food Security in Ethiopia

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Locust Ethiopia
An Ethiopian boy attempts to fend off desert locust as they fly in a farm on the outskirt of Jijiga in Somali region, Ethiopia. VOA

A new round of locust swarms has hit Ethiopia and is again threatening crops and food security, say agricultural officials.

Dereje Hirpha, the Oromia region’s head of locust control, tells VOA’s Horn of Africa Service that the new generation of locusts was first reported weeks ago in the Raya district and has since spread across thousands of hectares in 40 districts of the region.

The fast-moving swarm is threatening crops in a country where more than 80 percent of the population depends on agriculture for its livelihood.

Locust Outbreak
A Samburu boy uses a wooden stick to try to swat a swarm of desert locust filling the air, as he herds his camel. VOA

Similar locusts wave hit Ethiopia a year ago.  The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has said it believes heavy rainfall in East Africa has contributed to the growth of locust swarms in the area.

This new generation is arriving from Somaliland, while breeding has continued on both sides of the Red Sea, and in Sudan and Eritrea, according to experts.

USAID plans to work with the U.N. Food  and Agriculture Organization to prevent and control the spread of locusts, its office of communication says.  The agency is training more than 300 pest experts and providing 5,000 sets of protective equipment for locust fighters.

Hirpha says authorities are spraying the affected areas from planes and vehicles on the ground to ward off the pests.

Locals, meanwhile, are engaged in their own combat operation.  When a locust swarm approaches, residents try to scare them away by blowing whistles, drumming empty buckets, setting fires, and shooting into the air.

Locust chasers take position in green areas to disperse the swarms before the descend.

Locust Ethiopia
A man tries to catch locust while standing on a rooftop. VOA

“From a distance the swarm looks like a brown cloud, a sandstorm,” says Sora Kura, one of the chasers in the Borana zone.

The swarm follows the wind direction and is also guided by hairy antenna on their heads that detect smells and other signals of food, Hirpha says. According to the FAO, the swarms can move up to 150 kilometers per day.

USAID says the swarms will likely spread next to southwest Ethiopia and northwestern Kenya, and may enter Uganda and South Sudan.

Desert locusts can comfortably live in a warm, sandy environment like Eastern Ethiopia and Somaliland, Hirpha says.

Also Read- Ozone-Depleting Substance Causes Half of Arctic Warming

Ethiopia has to report any assessment of the crops lost to the pests.  In 2003 and 2005, locust outbreaks in more than 20 countries, mainly in North Africa, cost farmers $3.6 billion, according to the FAO. (VOA)