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Desert Locust Control in West and Northwest Africa

Between 2006 and 2011, four desert locust outbreaks were successfully controlled in Mauritania and Niger, in large part due to a multi-partner preventive control programme that strengthened the countries’ surveillance, control and environmental monitoring capacities. The programme, which includes ten countries in west and northwest Africa, is now entering its second phase – largely implemented and funded by the countries themselves.

Desert locust is a highly destructive transboundary plant pest that threatens people’s livelihoods, food security, the environment and economic development. West and northwest Africa is one single bio-ecological entity for this pest. For this reason, in 2002, the countries of this region established the Commission for Controlling the Desert Locust in the Western Region (CLCPRO), under the aegis of FAO. The CLCPRO member countries subsequently joined the FAO Emergency Prevention System (EMPRES) programme.

During the first phase of the EMPRES programme (2006-2010) in that region – funded by the African Development Bank, France and USAID as well as the CLCPRO and FAO – the Commission successfully developed a model for preventive control and coordinated regional activities.

Thanks to the advocacy of the CLCPRO, the four frontline countries for locust activities – Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger – established autonomous National Locust Control Units within their Ministries of Agriculture, setting up and training survey, control and environmental monitoring teams, as well as developing contingency plans in Mali, Mauritania and Senegal. The programme also introduced biopesticides, which has lessened threat posed by chemicals during the whole process of control operations – from storage to spraying.

Work in the programme saw countries that are traditional recipients of aid turn into donors when they delivered pesticides from their stockpiles to other countries in need such as Mauritania to Yemen, Mali and Morocco to Georgia. The programme also spearheaded a new modality of cooperation with WFP, which used its planes to carry the pesticides.

The second phase of the programme (2011-2014) has a budget of USD 28.8 million, with the countries themselves contributing all, except USD 7.8 million, through their national budgets.

According to the CLCPRO, the expenses incurred in controlling the plague that struck the region in 2003-2005, could have financed 170 years of prevention.

Donors: African Development Bank, France, USAID