Locust Watch
Locusts in Caucasus and Central Asia

News

Introduction of the Locust-Pesticide Management System in Georgia

31/05/2022

The Locust-Pesticide Management System (Locust-PMS) Application, developed by FAO to facilitate the management of pesticides and equipment used for locust control, was introduced to the National Food Agency, Georgia, in early May 2022 during a visit of the FAO Pesticides and IT Experts. The system was downloaded on tablets, credentials installed for eight NFA staff and an on-the-job training was conducted focusing on: (i) data collection on pesticide stores, risk analysis of pesticide stores and pesticide products; (ii) data collection on safety, survey and spray equipment and vehicles for transport of pesticides, personnel and equipment; and (iii) generating and printing QR codes for traceability of pesticide products and equipment. Georgia will test the system during the 2022 campaign, acting as a pilot country to its own benefit and the ones of the other Caucasus and Central Asia countries. It will report on findings during the next annual Technical Workshop on Locusts in CCA, in November 2022. This activity is implemented thanks to the regional project funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Cross-border survey between Tajikistan and Uzbekistan - the first one in CCA since pandemic start!

12/04/2022

A cross-border survey was successfully held between Tajikistan and Uzbekistan on 28 March-2 April 2022, involving six staff from the State Enterprise “Locust Control Expedition” (SE-LCE), Tajikistan, and six staff from the Agency for Plant Protection and Quarantine (APPQ), Uzbekistan, as well as two FAO Experts. It allowed surveying a total of 75 000 hectares in the Districts of Republican Subordination (DRS) and Khatlon, Tajikistan, and Surkhandarya, Uzbekistan. Infestations of the Moroccan Locust Dociostaurus maroccanus  (Thunberg, 1815), DMA,  hoppers of 1st or 2nd  instars, were  observed at a  maximum   density of    250 – 300/square meter in both countries. The CBS was characterized by open discussions and willingness to share information. Such cross-border surveys was the first one organized since 2019, because of COVID-19, under the Locust Programme in Caucasus and Central Asia. It was made possible thanks to the regional project funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

A Monograph on Italian Locust has been published!

22/03/2022

A 330-pp. monograph on the Italian Locust Calliptamus italicus (Linnaeus, 1758): morphology, distribution, ecology, population management, has been officially published by FAO. It is authored by 12 acridologists from Kazakhstan, Russian Federation, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. The book contains information on taxonomy, evolution and ecology of the Italian Locust, as well as descriptions of historic and contemporary approaches to its population management. It is destined for entomologists, plant protection specialists, ecologists and students of agricultural or biological specialties.

Regional Workshop on Locust Geographical Information System (GIS) in CCA, February 2022

11/02/2022

On 16-18 February 2022, a regional Workshop on locust data collection, analysis, forecast and reporting in CCA will take place online with all CCA countries. It will be the third annual one, held with the objective to support the use of the Automated System for Data Collection (ASDC) and Geographic Information System (GIS) “Caucasus and Central Asia Locust Management System (CCALM)” and their improvement. ASDC was created to facilitate collection of field data by locust scouts and control operators (on tablets or mobile phones), which are then transmitted to CCALM together with other data for further analysis and forecast. Such tools are expected to play a key role in early warning and response once fully operated by countries. This year, the GIS workshop will more specifically allow to discuss: ASDC use in 2021, including testing of the new beta-version by Georgia and the Russian Federation, as well as the ways to increase its coverage during locust survey and control; the use of CCALM, including of the newly-inserted satellite products, to analyse locust data; and, on this basis, improvement of locust forecast and ultimately, reporting. This workshop is held thanks to support from the regional project funded by the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

Calendars on safety measures associated with locust control

20/01/2022

Calendars for the year 2022 are being made available to rural populations living in locust-affected areas of Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. They deliver practical messages on safety measures to be adopted by local populations, farmers, shepherds, beekeepers and municipalities before, during and after locust control operations: whenever conventional chemical are used, precautions should indeed be taken to minimize adverse effects on human health and the environment. Adapted to the specific context of each country and produced in vernacular languages, they will be dispatched by the national services in charge of locust management to local populations during the locust campaign. Similar calendars had already being prepared in 2018 to the benefit of Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Such awareness raising material is realized by FAO with financial support from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

The Locust Programme in CCA has turned 10 years!

09/12/2021

It is the 10th anniversary of the interregional FAO “Programme to improve national and regional locust management in Caucasus and Central Asia (CCA)”, which was launched in October 2011 to the benefit of ten countries. Congratulations to all stakeholders! Thanks to tremendous and continuous efforts, many achievements have been reached over this period. They include the establishment of the regional technical network on locusts in CCA, the strengthening of national capacities in all-locust related areas, the introduction of the innovative Automated System of Data Collection (ASDC), creation of a highly-specialized Geographical Information System (GIS) entitled “Caucasus and Central Asia Locust Management System (CCALM)” and a much higher attention paid to pesticide risk reduction and human health and environmental aspects. This would not have been possible without the outstanding support of resource partners, the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the FAO-Turkey Partnership Programme (FTPP) and the contribution of FAO Technical Cooperation Programme (TCP) and its Regular Programme. Some key directions for the coming years are to agree on an institutional mechanism to sustainable long-term regional cooperation, to support the implementation of the locust preventive strategy and to continue strengthening national capacities to improve locust management. Best wishes to Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan in this regard!

Second Project Steering Committee of the JICA-funded locust project for Central Asia

06/12/2021

The second Project Steering Committee (PSC) of the “Project to improve locust management (Phase 2)” in Central Asia” project was held on 7 December 2021. It gathered the representatives of the six beneficiary countries, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, as well as from the resource partner, i.e. from the Japan Embassy in Tajikistan and the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA), and from FAO. As the project operationally started in November 2020, the PSC allowed reviewing the successful implementation of the project during the first year. It also allows allowed discussing and endorsing the workplan for the project second year, covering the 2022 locust campaign. With a large financial contribution of USD 7.5 million, the project support regional cooperation as well as strengthening of medium to long-term national capacities with a view to prevent and limit the threats posed by locusts and damage to crops and rangelands and thus to contribute to food security and livelihoods in Central Asia.

Watch out: the annual Technical Workshop on Locusts in CCA is being held online on 23-25 November 2021!

22/11/2021

The Technical Workshop on Locusts in CCA is being held online on 23-25 November 2021. It gathers the participating countries in the FAO “Programme to improve national and regional locust management in the Caucasus and Central Asia (CCA)”, as well as the Programme current resource partners -the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)- as observers. The workshop allows discussing: lessons learnt from the 2021 national anti-locust campaigns and preparation of the next ones; implementation of the Programme in 2021 and work plan for 2022; the latest developments regarding the Geographic Information System (GIS) entitled “Caucasus and Central Asia Locust Management System” (CCALM); risk reduction associated with locust control operations; as well as new projects and resource mobilization. In addition, it will allow celebrating the 10 years of successful implementation of the Locust Programme in CCA!

Towards the creation of an FAO Commission on locusts in Caucasus and Central Asia (CCA)?

22/09/2021

Bilateral meetings are being held, during the second half of September 2021, between FAO and the countries participating in the FAO Locust Programme in CCA, with the objective to discuss the creation of a permanent body on locusts in CCA. Indeed, while the Programme seeks to improve national and regional locust management, relying on regional cooperation and prevention, it is acknowledged that only a permanent regional body can guarantee the sustainability of such approach in the long-term, beyond programmes and projects depending on external contributions. The idea to create an FAO Commission on locusts in CCA is not new as the first attempt to formalize regional cooperation dates back to 2000. It has been a recurring question since then and it was discussed several times during the annual Workshops held in the framework of the Programme. Such bilateral meetings take place in this context. The expected output is that countries officially express their preferences regarding the creation of such permanent body. See also Factsheet on establishing an FAO Commission on locusts in CCA.

E-Committee on CCALM

30/07/2021

On 28 July, Experts from Caucasus and Central Asia (CCA) countries met for highly technical discussions on the improvement of the Geographical Information System (GIS) “Caucasus and Central Asia Locust Management System” (CCALM), and more specifically on the algorithms to be used for data analysis and locust forecast. CCALM was created in 2017 to contribute to early warning and prevention of locusts in CCA. It is fed by the field data collected by scouts and control staff using to the Automated System for Data Collection (ASDC) as well as other data sources. CCALM is being introduced to an increasing number of CCA countries and tested during locust campaigns. This is possible thanks to the support of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

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