FAO Regional Office for Near East and North Africa

FAO continues Desert Locust control support to protect livelihoods in Yemen

Over 100 desert locust control technicians are being deployed to infested areas throughout the country to undertake operations safeguarding farmers’ livelihoods.

A member of the Locust Control Unit spraying locusts. ©FAO/Mohammed Abdulkhaliq

9 July 2020, Sana’a – The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), in coordination with the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation (MAI), continues its support to control Desert Locust across infested areas of Yemen through a national campaign targeting infested areas in the governorates of Hadhramaut, Shabwah, Marib, Al Jawf, Lahj, Al Maharah, Aden and Abyan. 118 techniciansfrom local agriculture offices are being equipped and deployed to targeted areas, carrying out urgent survey and control operations.

Reports indicate that the locust situation has recently intensified, threatening food security in large parts of the country. Desert Locust summer breeding areas, especially in the eastern interior governorates, are suffering from a steady increase and upsurge of the pest, forming immature swarms, according to warnings issued by the Desert Locust information service who monitors the world-wide locust situation, undertaking early warning activities. These swarms attack crops and threaten food security across the country and can also be transmitted to other countries in the region as well.  

Difficult circumstances have complicated surveying and monitoring operations. In this regard, FAO provided equipment and inputs to control teams at the governorate level who are implementing control activities, helping achieve the project’s goal of reducing desert locust’s impact on agriculture-based livelihoods and food security in an already fragile Yemen.

FAO Representative in Yemen, Dr Hussein Gadain, expressed his thanks to all parties interested in supporting locust control, stressing the necessity of pooling efforts to counter the threat of Desert Locust’s spread and its devastating effects on food security.

Dr Gadain stressed the role that FAO plays in supporting efforts to combat the spread of Desert Locust to alleviate the suffering of people affected by it and reducing poverty and hunger within its continuous plan to provide support in this area. Dr Gadain appreciated the cooperation of all parties in eliminating the locust spread and thus avoiding a catastrophe, calling on donors to provide support enabling FAO to complete control operations to protect the threatened food security of many poor people in Yemen.

“The current agricultural season could be completely destroyed by unprecedented numbers of desert locust swarms,” stressed Ashraf AlHawamdeh, Emergency Desert Locust Control Project Manager. “To avoid this catastrophic event, FAO is undertaking urgent actions combating this pest in the face of an already-weakened national food security status, so the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of Yemeni families who are on the brink do not collapse,”

The Desert Locust situation in Yemen has become increasingly serious during the current phase, threating food security systems where several swarms of Desert Locusts formed during the previous breeding season in the first quarter of the year on the southern coastal plains and in the interior areas of Hadhramaut, Shabwah, Marib and Al Jawf. 

Since early 2020, FAO has worked tirelessly with partners to control Desert Locust through national control campaigns targeting seasonal breeding areas across Yemen. FAO supported Desert Locust control operations and enabling activities covering vast infested areas, benefiting households most affected by the crisis.   


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