What FAO has done: FAO’s EMPRES Desert Locust Programme has been working to strengthen the preventive Desert Locust management capacity of 18 locust-affected countries in Africa and the Near East. Results have been excellent, with the response time to the onset of locust emergencies cut by 60 percent -- translating into more effective prevention at much reduced cost.
In 2007-2009 countries in the Red Sea region which had spent US $20 million in locust crisis preparedness successfully prevented a Desert Locust plague. Countries in North and Northwest Africa which had made no such investment when an upsurge started in 2003 ended up spending around US$400 million to bring the locusts under control in 2005.
FAO has also been promoting the use more environmentally sustainable biopesticides to replace harmful chemical agents in controlling locust populations.
The Desert Locust Programme is reinforced by FAO’s Desert Locust Information Service, which monitors locust and environmental conditions on a daily basis and provides forecasts, alerts and early warning to member countries.
What Next? EMPRES Plant Health leads international and national efforts in country preparedness and management of transboundary plant diseases critical to food security. At the national level, EMPRES encourages coordination of plant pest preparedness and field management activities.