By Aziza Atieno
Kenya has launched the strategy for the management of Migratory and Invasive Pests and Weeds in collaboration with the World Bank and the Food and Agriculture Organization(FAO) among other stakeholders.
This strategy was developed in an effort to provide a long term solution to the emergency crisis brought about by the desert locust invasions which caused a food security threat to about 3 million people according to the World Bank.
“ This invasion triggered the need for a well-coordinated, multi-sectoral and multi-stakeholder approach for migratory and invasive pests management,” said Peter Munya, Cabinet secretary Ministry of agriculture, livestock, fisheries and cooperatives during the launch of the strategy.
He also noted that the report lays out seven priority pillars for a comprehensive migratory pest management system and will provide a platform for a coordinated collaborative approach, and establish a modern information and knowledge management system to strengthen surveillance, forecasting and ensure timely and effective control operations.
Sustainable livelihoods and improved food security being on top of the chart, Beth Bechdol, the Deputy General of FAO highlighted the need to transform the agricultural sector using digital and innovative tools to lessen the impact of drought and not only increase food production but also food quality.
She said the implementation of the strategy will contribute towards achieving Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations and agenda 2065 of increased food and nutritional security through effective management of migratory and invasive pests by strengthening the capacity of ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Cooperatives and the counties to adequately address incidences of migratory and invasive pests and weeds.
Noting that the strategy is comprehensive because it focuses on surveillance, monitoring and forecasting, Vinay Kunar, World Bank’s representative affirmed the Bank’s continuous financial support in implementing the strategy.
He emphasized the need to collaborate with different partners on different levels including communities, development partners and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to work together and build capacity to eradicate these pests and weeds.
Mary Nzomo, Chair County Executive Committee for agriculture Caucus noted that the commitment of county governments was crucial for the successful implementation of the strategy.
She said the strategy would help in lobbying counties to ensure allocation of funds towards migratory and invasive pests and weeds in the country.
The IFAD Country Director, Phillipe Remy, reiterated the commitment of the organization to support and ensure the success of a sustainable management of the invasive pests and weeds and other various projects across the country.
“Through our investments in the country, we will continue to support initiatives aimed at emergency response and building resilience of communities,” he said.
Other partners in attendance were International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), African Development Bank – Kenya, GIZ – Kenya, European union – Kenya , USAID – Kenya, Sweden’s Government Agency for Development Cooperation.