The World Bank has given Kenya a loan of 4.5 billion shillings to help the country in fighting the locusts that have infested the East African region.
According to the World Bank, the loans will also be given to other East African countries including Uganda, Ethiopia, and Djibouti, and will be used for surveillance and buying pesticides to control the locusts. The loans should be fully paid after 30 years with a grace period of five years.
The loans have come in handy at a time when Kenya’s food security is threatened after the swam of locusts destroyed crops in most farms with World Bank warning that food prices could also increase if the pests are not controlled in due time.
World Bank Country Director for Kenya, Felipe Jaramillo warns that necessary action should be taken to avert any impending food crisis as a result of the locust invasion which continues to destroy farm crops.
In Kenya, at least 18 out of 47 counties have witnessed a locust invasion where up to 17,000 hectares of farms were infested since the pests first visited the country in 2019.
Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya, however, said the locusts have been controlled to a manageable level and currently, only five countries are battling the destructive pests. The locust infestation is the worst Kenya has ever witnessed in 70 years.
Other countries that are dealing with the locusts’ threat are; Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, and Tanzania. The invasion is also the worst in 25 years in Somalia and Ethiopia.
The countries have also received grants from The AfDB (The African Development Bank) and Japan who contributed 160.5 million shillings and 802.5 million shillings to support the fight against the locusts in the region.
The invasion comes amid the Covid-19 pandemic, which also threatens food production in the East African region.