Situation Update: Locust Crisis in Madagascar - 15 March 2016

Situation Update: Locust Crisis in Madagascar - 15 March 2016
Mar 2016

Locust situation

During January 2016, rains have continued in the Outbreak Area, which has resulted in green vegetation cover and suitable weather and ecological conditions for locust development. In February 2016, rains have decreased and were sporadic. In January and February 2016, the Transitory Multiplication Areas and the Densation Areas of the north and central compartments (Bekily-Fotadrevo peneplain, Belomotra plateau, Toliara plain, Befandriana-S., Manja and Morombe areas) of the Malagasy Migratory Locust were very active. At the last ten-day period of January 2016, adults of the first generation of breeding have started to make room for the second generation hoppers. Intensive treatments were carried out, particularly in the Befandriana-S. area, where grouped hopper populations were observed. From 1 February 2016, the first light flights were localized in that area as well as in Manja and Morombe areas; whereas, in other areas, only some scattered hopper populations mixed with some young adults were discovered.

The degregarization process initiated in 2014/15 and the decreasing number of highly dense locust populations – whose hotspots retreated to the traditional habitat area in the southwestern part of Madagascar – are indicators of the decline of the locust plague. The high phenological heterogeneity of the populations currently observed demonstrated the continuity and intensification of the decline, despite the presence of localized dense locust populations.

Response

Implementation of the 3rd anti-locust campaign (September 2015 – June 2016). Since the beginning of the 3rd anti-locust campaign on 26 August 2015 and until 29 February 2016, locust populations have been controlled on an area of 223 533 ha, of which more than 190 000 ha have been treated and protected from 11 January to 29 February 2016, bringing the total number to 2.1 million ha since the inception of the Three-year Programme. Aerial extensive surveys are expected to be carried out in the Outbreak Area from the beginning of March in order to localize the laying sites and the areas of dense locust populations in view of the hopper treatments.

The construction of the central warehouse for pesticide storage and cleaning of empty-drums began on 5 February 2016 in the Atsimo Andrefana region. The launch of the construction works took place on 26 February 2016 in the presence of the FAO Representative in Madagascar as well as Government officials, local authorities and international partners (such as the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and Japan). Following the disappearance of more than 2 000 empty pesticide drums from the warehouse of the Regional Agricultural Development Directorate in Toliara, FAO and the Ministry of Agriculture have reinforced awareness-raising activities to inform rural populations about the human health risks in reusing empty drums. An international Pesticide Stock Management System expert arrived in mid-February and trained three agents from the National Anti Locust Centre, identified a new pesticide management focal point and updated the inventory of the full and empty drums stored in the different warehouses used by FAO. All 50 000 litres of Insect Growth Regulator (IGR) required for this 3rd campaign have been delivered and 56 000 litres of conventional pesticide donated by Morocco is currently being routed by sea and is expected to arrive by mid-April 2016.