The newly appointed Food and Agriculture (FAO) Representative to Kenya Carla Elisa Luis Mucavi has taken office.
On Monday, she was welcomed by the Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Cooperatives CS Peter Munya.
Ms. Mucavi, who was previously at the helm of the FAO Liaison Office at the UN Headquarters in New York, had paid the CS a courtesy call as she assumed her duties at the end of a two-week quarantine.
The FAO representative commended the ministry for a well-structured and well-coordinated approach in responding to the food Security threat posed by the locust invasion.
“I am confident that Kenya is better prepared to manage the second invasion, given the systems in place and capacity already built nation-wide”, Mucavi said.
She assumes office after FAO issued a Desert Locust invasion warning earlier, sighting a widespread breeding in eastern Ethiopia and central Somalia, with new swarms expected to fly south to Kenya from mid-November and mid-December.
In Kenya currently, a few early and mid-instar hopper bands are forming in Samburu County. In the northeast, more swarms have been reported near the Somalia border in Mandera and Wajir counties.
Speaking at the meeting, the CS explained that technical teams from both the Ministry and FAO, in partnership with the Council of Governors, begin a two-week mission to coordinate surveillance and control measures of the impending invasion.
He added that as the Kenyan economy experiences a 5.7 percent contracted growth as of June 2020 owing to shocks caused by the Covid-19 restriction measures, locust invasion, and flooding in parts of the country, there is however improved performance in the Agriculture, forestry and fishing activities cushioning the national economy from further decline.
“The National Treasury reports that agriculture sector’s contribution to GDP growth was at 1.5 percentage points in the second quarter of 2020 compared to 0.7 percentage points over the same period in 2019,” the CS said.
CS Munya noted that KDF have been engaged by the Ministry and also trained by FAO to support spraying in the affected regions of the country with FAO promising to provide a helicopter to supplement the KDF fleet in readiness for the second wave.
Acknowledging the support FAO has provided to the country so far, the CS called on the agency to increase its financial and technical contribution to complement the Government’s efforts.
A food Security War Room and Locust Control Coordination Unit set up earlier in the year continues to provide early warning and inform the government on mitigation measures to keep the impact of the locusts on food Security and livelihoods to the minimum.
In addition to locust response, FAO will continue to support the country in line with the National Agriculture Sector Growth and Transformation Strategy (2019-2029), FAO’s Hand in Hand Initiative and the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) for Kenya.
Ms. Carla Elisa Luis Mucavi, the first woman to hold the position of FAO Representative in Kenya, is a national of Mozambique and succeeds Dr.Gabriel Rugalema.
She takes office at a time when the agriculture sector is in the spotlight, as the country’s highest foreign exchange earner, with global travel restrictions adversely affecting the tourism sector.
The Kenyan Government, in its 2020-2021 budget allocated Sh 1.3 billion (USD 12 million) to enhance the resilience of pastoral communities as they battle the locust invasion.
This allocation is meant to support and sustain the farming communities as they employ thousands of workers in the agricultural sector.
Also present at the meeting were the Principal Secretaries Harry Kimtai (Livestock), Ali Noor Ismail (Cooperatives), Prof Hamadi Boga (Crops and Research), Prof Micheni Ntiba (Fisheries and Blue Economy), and Agriculture Transformation Coordinator Ms Thule Lenneiye.