FAO Continues to Enhance Yemeni Institutions' Capacity to Respond to Desert Locust

Participants going through a practical session on equipment operation and maintenance ©FAO/2022

18 November, 2022, Sana’a – FAO in Yemen continues to build the capacity of Yemeni institutions involved in the control and management of the desert locust in the country as the threat of an outbreak looms especially after heavy rains which were experienced during July and August this year. In this regard, a five-day training on operation and maintenance of desert locust control equipment was conducted in Sana’a.

Participants were trained to operate and maintain some sprayers which are used in controlling desert locust. This training was held under the World Bank funded ‘Yemen Desert Locust Response Project’.

The training course, which ended on Wednesday, attracted 20 trainees from the desert locust centre of the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation in Sanaa and it included technicians and drivers.

Different types of surveillance and control equipment have been availed to authorities in Yemen under the project. These include spraying machines which suite specific type of locust infestation targets, and work under specific conditions. Some of the equipment is suited for trees and bushes while there are some vehicle mounted sprayers.

The FAO Representative in Yemen, Dr Hussein Gadain, said the training, even at a time when there has been no outbreak of the swarms, was important because it prepares the country to combat future infestations efficiently.

“We are cushioning famers, pastoralists and beekeepers through building the capacities of institutions to control and manage desert locust. These trainings are a worthy investment as they will protect crops and pastures in the event of future outbreaks. This is one way of ensuring food and nutrition security,” said Dr Gadain.

Additional training courses will be held in due course and this will further enhance the country’s readiness to combat desert locust invasion.

The main objectives of the Desert Locust Response Project for Yemen are to control the desert locust outbreak, support livelihoods in locust-affected areas and strengthen Yemen’s preparedness for future locust infestations.

This training was undertaken under the surveillance and control measures component of the project. The objective of this component is to limit the growth and spread of current desert locust populations. This is achieved through early warning of locust outbreaks, undertaking effective control operations, and mobilising assistance for affected and at-risk communities.

The second component of the project is livelihood protection and rehabilitation which provides for a robust protection response that ensures immediate relief to affected farmers and livestock owners and build their resilience to climate-induced locust infestation.

Coordination and early warning preparedness is the third component and it strengthens the national capacity for early warning and early response, linking these efforts to regional locust surveillance and control networks thereby enhancing climate resilience. The fourth component focuses on project management and knowledge management.

More about Desert Locust

The Desert Locust is the most destructive migratory pest in the world. They are ravenous eaters who consume their own weight per day, targeting food crops and forage. One square kilometre of swarm can contain up to 80 million adults, with the capacity to consume the same amount of food in one day as 35 000 people. The pest multiplies rapidly with a new generation of locusts emerging every 12 weeks. Each generation, on average, sees a 20-fold increase in the population.