Food insecurity (reference to the IPC results, March 2019) in the Republic of Djibouti (RoD), is a serious concern, with about 280,000 people (29% of the total population) suffering from chronic food insecurity (CFI) across the country. The most severely affected areas are the Obock region in the North, the Ali-Sabieh and Dikhil regions in the South, with 30%, 25% and 20% of the rural population at severe CFI level, respectively.
This food insecurity situation has been recently exacerbated by the Desert Locust (DL) invasion triggered by the high abnormal humidity since the floods of November 2019, which caused damages that further threatens the food security of more than 26 700 people (4,450 households) among the population living in the affected rural areas (70% of the population engaged in agropastoral activities). The Government of the RoD estimates that the damage caused by the DL infestations on vegetation cover (crops and pastures) have already caused a loss of around USD 5 million for the six regions of the country (Arta, Dikhil, Ali-Sabieh, Tadjourah, Obock and the Djibouti-City Suburb Areas - see Table 1).
Indeed, while the bulletin issued on 4 December 2019 by FAO's locust watch unit indicated that DL swarms were to strike the RoD, a report from the field already indicated a presence of DLs between 2 and 5 December 2019 in Dikhil region (As-Eyla, Hanlé, Dikhil periurban areas, Mouloud), and Ali-Sabieh region (Assamo). Technical teams deployed early December 2019 by FAO and the Government of RoD reported 100% destruction of forage and vegetable crops in Ali-Sabieh and Dikhil regions.
In January 2020, the decrease in temperatures due to continuous rains registered and the regeneration of the vegetation (ground and aerial pastures) have favoured another massive, destructive and persistent DL invasion. To date, over 80% of the 1,700 agropastoral farms in 23 production sites in the country and nearly 5,000 hectares of pastures have been infested with DLs. The damage caused is mainly on agricultural gardens/farms with destruction of crop production (vegetables, forages and fruit trees) (Annex 1), as well and selectively on aerial pastures constituting the important part of feed for goats and camels, dominant livestock production in Djibouti.
The negative impact on plant production (crops, pastures, vegetables, fruit trees) is a serious threat to the livelihoods and incomes of rural communities. In view of the extent of the damage caused, the Government of the RoD, through the Ministry of Agriculture, Water, Fishery, Livestock and Marine Resources (MAEPE-RH), appealed to the international community in a statement issued on 23 January 2020.
TIME FOR ACTION…!
The risk of losing all investments in agricultural initiatives and the work carried out for decades by small rural farmers is enormous, despite the exceptional rainfall. To reduce this risk, it is urgent to carry out actions to control the infestation, but also to support recovery:
◼ From control of the scourge, it is essential to be part of a regional initiative. The Republic of Djibouti (RoD), through its technical department in charge of agriculture and livestock and the technical partners remain attentive and join the initiatives and consultations undertaken in neighboring countries, in particular Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya and Somalia, in particular by acting to:
• Stop the spread of DL infestation through (i) ground control operations (larval locusts) with supply of bio-pesticides and equipment, storage, training, human and environmental safety, and disposal of chemical drums and containers, and (ii) air traffic control operations (adult locusts) with aircraft subcontracting, purchase of biopesticides, human and environmental safety, training and disposal of chemical barrels and containers.
• Ensure ground surveillance, monitoring and continuous impact assessments in partnership with the Government of RoD.
FINANCIAL NEEDS – FEB 2020 : 1.5 Millions USD
TOTAL PEOPLE TARGETED: 13,500