The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved a financing facility of $48 million (Shs 180 billion) from the International Development Association (IDA) to help Uganda prevent and respond to the threat to livelihoods posed by the desert locust outbreak and to strengthen its national and regional systems for preparedness.
Locusts have infested 24 districts in six sub-regions of Uganda, including Acholi, Karamoja, Lango, Sebei, Teso and Bugisu, since arriving from western Kenya on February 9.
The outbreak could undermine development gains and threaten the food security and livelihoods of millions of Ugandans.
An assessment carried out by Food and Agriculture Organisation and the World Food Program in Karamoja and Teso shows it would cost between $12 million (Shs 45 billion) and $42 million (Shs 157.5 billion) to safeguard and restore livelihoods if surveillance and locust management measures are lacking or ineffective.
An estimated 291,000 people are already considered severely food insecure in the two regions, and another 1.32 million people could be at risk.
The Emergency Locust Response Program will help Uganda to monitor and manage locust swarms to limit the growth of existing and new desert locust populations, provide livelihood protection and restoration to affected households, communities and vulnerable groups and to improve coordination and early warning preparedness at the regional and national levels to strengthen national capacities for surveillance, response and preparedness to prevent future infestations.
The project is expected to support 950,000 direct beneficiaries and about 1,200,000 indirect beneficiaries in the locust-affected districts. Priority will be given to women and youth, with at least 50 percent of household representatives expected to be women.
Immediate locust crisis response support was availed through an allocation of $1 million (Shs 3.7 billion) from the Agriculture Cluster Development Project, also financed by the World Bank to address gaps in locust management measures undertaken by the Government.
“The locust invasion could coincide with the start of the planting season, which will likely affect the main staple crop production and the regeneration of grasslands for livestock feeds. These resources are timely to support affected households cope, and to strengthen Government’s response efforts,” said Tony Thompson, Country Manager, World Bank.
The World Bank Group is mobilizing a $500 million (Shs 1.9 trillion) program of emergency financing, complemented by policy advice and technical assistance, to support countries affected by the locust outbreak. The program seeks to help households and communities safeguard their livelihoods and cope with the economic impacts of locust damage on crops, livestock, and related assets, as well as strengthen national systems for preparedness.