Press Release 97/12
FAO REPORTS MIGRATORY LOCUST OUTBREAK IN MADAGASCAR COVERING ABOUT 2 MILLION
HECTARES;WARNS IT MAY DEVELOP INTO A PLAGUE; APPEALS TO DONORS FOR FUNDS
ROME, 8 April -- The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reported today
a massive Migratory Locust outbreak in Madagascar, warning that the situation, involving
about 2 million hectares in the south-west of the country, may develop into a major
plague unless control operations are expanded quickly. The Rome-based UN specialized
agency appealed to the donor community for funds totalling $2 million.
According to FAO's Locust Group, despite intensive control by national authorities,
"the resources available are insufficient to cope with infestations on this
scale. There is a high risk that further breeding will occur over an increasingly
large area. If not controlled, such breeding will result in a substantial increase
with the likelihood of invasions of other parts of the country during the spring
and a subsequent re-invasion of the south in the autumn of 1997." Such movements
pose a major threat to agricultural production in Madagascar, FAO said.
In its appeal, FAO asked for urgent aid stating that "international assistance
is specifically needed for the procurement of necessary pesticides, for aircraft
hire, equipment, including vehicles, and the operational expenses of ground teams."
The need was put at $2 million on top of the emergency assistance being provided
by FAO's Technical Cooperation Prograrnme.