Protecting against grasshopper infestations Combatting locust swarms Controlling desert locust
Their is a constant risk of rapid resurgence of locust and grasshoppers and of the reappearance of swarms as a result of widespread and abundant rainfall, notably in the sub-Saharan region of Africa. Locust swarms can cause extensive agricultural damage.
The strategy against locust and grasshopper infestation forms part of the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction of the 1990s. The FAO, UNDP and other bodies undertake long-term research initiatives designed to develop more effective, economical and environmentally sound control methods, together with short and medium term preventive initiatives. FAO's Emergency Centre for Locust Operations (ECLO) coordinates the international campaign to contain locusts, by acting as a clearing house for information, analysing locust reports and weather and habitat data derived from ground and satellite sources, and channelling aid from the donor community to affected zones in the form of technical assistance, sprayers, pesticides, flying hours, communications equipment, spare parts, training and operating expenses. The centre prepares a monthly update on the locust situation as well as six-week forecasts for locust-affected countries and the international donor community. By monitoring environmental conditions in locust breeding grounds, ECLO provides early warning of conditions that might encourage proliferation and spread. ECLO had been deactivated in the spring og 1989 when locusts were brought under control in some 40 countries in Africa and Asia. However, in 1993, ECLO mobilized international assistance to combat an upsurge of the desert locus that originated on the coastal plains around the Red Sea in late 1992. When the Red Sea swarm moved eastwards to Pakistan and India, ECLO sounded the alert, and aerial and ground control effectively reduced infestation in these areas. More than three million hectares have been treated in affected countries since the beginning of the Red Sea upsurge.
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