Response to the locust plague in Madagascar: Programme for campaign No.3 (September 2015 to June 2016)

Response to the locust plague in Madagascar: Programme for campaign No.3 (September 2015 to June 2016)
Nov 2015

Madagascar is prone to natural disasters including drought, floods, cyclones and locust crises. The current locust plague began in April 2012 following a two-year upsurge that was not addressed because of insufficient means. Given the extent of the plague and Madagascar’s high rates of food insecurity and malnutrition, it was estimated that the food security of 13 million people (60 percent of the population) could be affected in the absence of large-scale locust control operations. To cope with this dire situation, the Ministry of Agriculture of Madagascar and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) developed a Three-year Programme Three-year Programme (2013–2016) in response to the locust plague in December 2012.

Given the magnitude and geographical extent of infested and contaminated areas, it was estimated that at least three successive anti-locust campaigns would be required to return to a locust recession situation, as follows:

  • Anti-Locust Campaign 1: fight against the plague, from September 2013 to August 2014.
  • Anti-Locust Campaign 2: measures to support the anticipated decline, from September 2014 to August 2015.
  • Anti-Locust Campaign 3: towards locust recession and capacity building of the National Anti-Locust Centre (CNA), from September 2015 to June 2016.

The objective of the Programme is to contribute to safeguarding food security of the most vulnerable rural populations in Madagascar. Its five components are:

  1. Strengthening national capacities to monitor and analyse locust situations.
  2. Strengthening national locust control capacities.
  3. Preserving human health and protecting the environment.
  4. Implementing and coordinating the Programme.
  5. Assessing the effectiveness of the anti-locust campaigns and the impact of the locust crisis on crops and pastures.

In December 2012, the Three-year Programme’s budget was estimated at USD 41.5 million. This estimated budget was to be revised annually to reflect the evolution of the locust situation, the requirements of each anti-locust campaign and the exact cost of the various items. Adjusted at the start of the first campaign, in September 2013, and again in June and December 2014 (taking into account the estimated and actual cost of the first campaign and the provisional cost of the second), the budget was updated in June 2015, based on the estimated cost of the second campaign and the provisional cost of the third. In June 2015, this estimated budget totalled USD 37 million1 for the entire Programme.

The first and second anti-locust campaigns were fully funded (despite some difficulties during the second campaign to obtain the necessary funding in time) and successfully implemented. Survey and control operations, mostly aerial, conducted from September 2013 to August 2015 (Campaign 2’s operations ended on 15 August) allowed locust populations to be controlled over more than 1.8 million hectares (1.2 million ha during the 2013/14 campaign and 640 000 ha during the 2014/15 campaign) in the respect of human health and the environment. Thanks to the implementation of these operations, the specific objectives of the first and second anti-locust campaigns (namely the fight against the locust plague and the support of the anticipated decline of the plague) were achieved and crops and pastures have been protected, thus contributing to safeguarding the food security of rural populations in Madagascar, which is the ultimate objective of the Three-year Programme.

Before the launch of Three-Year Programme in response to the locust plague, it was emphasized how essential it was to obtain timely all the required funding in order to return to a locust recession situation in 2016 and neither delay the implementation of each of the three anti-locust campaigns nor lose from one campaign to the next one the benefits of the efforts made. If the third anti-locust campaign cannot be carried out in its entirety and in a timely fashion, the return to a recession situation cannot be guaranteed in June 2016; a situation of chronic locust upsurge could prevail (as was the case from 2010 to 2012), exacerbating sooner or later into a new plague.

This document is in line with the strategy defined in the Three-year Programme, it follows the programme closely and is a direct result of it. Moreover, it duly includes all the necessary technical adjustments made during the course of the second campaign to take into account the results achieved and progress made as well as the recommendations put forward during the two previous campaigns and the lessons learnt. It describes the third anti-locust campaign, to be conducted in 2015/16, whose specific objective is to return to a locust recession situation through the implementation of aerial control operations in all infested areas, although on a lesser scale than during the two previous campaigns. The expected outcomes, indicators and activities are described by component. Also presented below are the management modalities carried out by FAO in close collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, the technical and operational support provided for Programme implementation, project inputs, the monitoring and evaluation system and the nature and periodicity of reports.