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eLocust3: an innovative tool for crop pest control


The Desert Locust is considered the world’s most dangerous migratory pest species. It threatens people’s livelihoods, food security, the environment and economic development. A single outbreak can affect as many as 65 of the world’s poorest countries, and up to 20 percent of the Earth’s land mass.

An innovative technology developed by FAO and partners is helping to improve early warning by enabling rapid detection of locust outbreaks and green vegetation likely to become sites of locust infestations. Released in 2014, eLocust3 is a tried and tested data recording and transmission system, suitable for difficult and remote locations where monitoring is a challenge. The device consists of a robust tablet and custom designed software, which enable field staff to gather data and transfer it in real-time via satellite from the field to their national locust centres, before transmission to the Desert Locust Information Service (DLIS) at FAO Headquarters in Rome. eLocust3 is the latest update to the eLocust series, which has proved effective in early warning and preventive control in locust-affected countries.

Information obtained via eLocust3 is used to assess the current situation, forecast its development and warn locustaffected countries and the international donor community of likely locust invasions and plagues. Designed for use in areas with no Internet connection, the device is suitable for monitoring large expanses of inaccessible territory. A navigation feature enables locust survey and control teams to pinpoint and find their way to areas of green vegetation and potential locust infestations.

This tool, based on new advances in technologies, could be adapted and replicated for other migratory or sedentary crop pests as a way of monitoring pest levels and implementing more timely control, as needed.

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