Locust Watch
Locusts in Caucasus and Central Asia


Press tour in Kyrgyzstan on the locust project funded by Japan/JICA for Central Asia


On 6 July 2022, a press tour was organized by the FAO Representation in Kyrgyzstan in presence of the the Deputy Minister of Agriculture in the Kyrgyz Republic, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to the Kyrgyz Republic and the Representative of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The purpose was to present the results of the ongoing project funded by Japan/JICA as well as to transfer equipment and training manuals to the Ministry of Agriculture. Since 2015, Japan/JICA provides financial support to improve locust management by the Ministry of Agriculture, as part of the FAO “Programme to improve national and regional locust management in Caucasus and Central Asia (CCA)” (launched in 2011). Project for improvement of locust management “phase 1” was implemented in Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan in 2015-2019. Ongoing project “phase 2” (2020-2025) was expanded to include all Central Asian countries and Afghanistan, with a total budget of USD 7.5 million and with the objective to contribute to food security in the whole region. Thanks to the work carried out by Ministry of Agriculture, with technical support from FAO and financial one from donors, no major locust outbreak has occurred over the past years in the country.

Towards a monitoring system of locust control impact on human health and environment in Uzbekistan


With the objective to promote pesticide risk reduction, the Agency of Plant Protection and Quarantine, Uzbekistan, is currently investigating on the establishment of a monitoring system of the quality and human health and environmental impacts of control operations, with the assistance of the FAO Locust Programme in CCA. To that end, a mission of the FAO Environmental Expert is taking place in Tashkent and in Bostanlik district, as of late June/early July. Technical support to review current practices and future options will be provided as well as to deliver on-the-job training on monitoring techniques. Over the past years, similar support was provided to Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, as pilot countries, as well as to Georgia and Azerbaijan, resulting in the setting up national Human Health and Environmental Monitoring Teams. The assistance currently provided to Uzbekistan is possible thanks to the financial support of the “Project for improving locust management in Central Asia” (Phase II) funded by the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA). 

Introduction of the Locust-Pesticide Management System in Georgia


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!


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!


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


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


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!


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


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!


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!

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