Desert locust outbreak
ouThe North African EPPO countries are threatened by serious desert locust infestation (Schistocerca gregaria - Orthoptera: Acrididae) in the coming year. This serious desert locust outbreak started in 2003, and is probably caused by the abundant rains which fell in summer 2003 throughout much of West Africa. The observation network of the Desert Locust Control Committee has shown over 2 million ha of infested areas in Saharan countries, of which 1.6 million ha in Mauritania. The locusts can be expected to multiply, swarm and invade North Africa in spring 2005. In August 2004, FAO indicated that the situation deteriorated further in the Sahel in West Africa, as swarms continued to arrive from North West Africa and laid eggs in Mauritania, Senegal, Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso and probably Chad. Hatching occurred and numerous hopper bands formed during August. Significant crop damage was reported in many countries. Insecticide treatments of these areas are being applied now, and for this summer have so far concerned approximately 100,000 ha in Algeria, Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, and Senegal. Treatment teams from Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia are taking part in the campaign further south. In all, nearly 6.5 million ha have been treated since the beginning of the outbreak in October 2003. Funding is actively being sought to complete the required treatments, only about one third (i.e. 37 million) of the total 100 million USD is currently available. Even more significant is the availability of equipment which can be mobilized immediately. Current capacity is only a third of what is needed and FAO stressed that international assistance was desperately required to prevent the situation from deteriorating further. It is particularly important to disrupt the next locust breeding cycle in October.
Personal communication with M. Moumen (Chairman of the Control Committee), NPPO of Algeria, 2004-09.
FAO, web site. Desert Locust Information Service.