Ethiopia: AU plans all out war against army worm outbreak in Africa

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (PANA) – The African Union (AU) is planning an all out war similar to its response to the Ebola disease outbreak, to combat an army worm outbreak, which has spread to 25 out of 55 countries, a senior AU official said on Saturday.

AU Commissioner for Rural Economy Josefa Sacko said the army worm outbreak and the famine in the Horn of Africa region, compounded the challenges facing the AU in meeting its broad food security objectives.

“We are facing an unprecedented outbreak. We do not know how to treat this outbreak,” Sacko said, revealing that the current pest outbreak spread to Africa from the US.

To deal with the outbreak, the AU official said it was putting in place a sustainable resource management plan, to immediately begin fundraising in order to effectively respond.

The AU Commission Director of Rural Economy and Agriculture, Godfrey Bahiigwa, said the army worm outbreak has affected 1.5 million hectares of farmland in Africa.

“The response varies from country to country. We are looking at countries raising their own financial resources to respond,” Bahiigwa said.

The army worm pest affects maize plantations. It is also feared the outbreak will also affect other 80 crop species, including wheat.

Meanwhile, the AU is continuing with the implementation of its Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme  (CAADP), which is expected to bolster the implementation of the Malabo Declaration on agriculture growth.

African leaders agreed in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea in 2014, to rapidly implement measures, including providing 10% of their budgets to the agricultural sector.

The broad agricultural goals also aim to reduce poverty by half by 2025.

Sacko said the AU has been working with the New Partnership for Africa’s Development  (NEPAD) secretariat to implement the Malabo Declaration in African countries.

The AU says its newly developed business plan towards implementing the Malabo Declaration aims to ensure 15 countries, the best performing in agricultural improvement sector, take the lead in implementing the required reforms in the sector this year.

The number of countries making the Malabo Declaration should also increase to 30 by 2018, when the AU Commission is expected to present its report on the implementation of the Malabo Declaration to the Heads of State and Government Assembly.

Under the declaration, the AU asked banks to ensure that at least 30% of bank agricultural loans went to women.
-0- PANA AO/MA 2July2017

02 july 2017 07:45:57

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