Press Release 97/12

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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.


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