Tropical regions have a greater diversity of insect life than any other climatic region. Some of these insects transmit diseases to man and livestock and are major pests of agricultural crops. Trypanosomiasis is a major endemic tropical disease, and is one of the most important livestock diseases in Africa. It causes a fatal disease in humans (sleeping sickness) and enormous losses in livestock (nagana).
The tsetse fly which transmits nagana to cattle, is found in approximately 11 million sq km in Africa. Of this area, 7 million sq km could support a population of 140 million cattle, if cleared of the tsetse. Only 20 million cattle are currently in this area. The potential meat production would be equal to an additional 1.5 million tonnes per year.