Locust Watch
Locusts in Caucasus and Central Asia

News

Ongoing regional Training-of-Trainers on locust management in Caucasus

13/09/2022

Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia are currently benefitting from a regional Training-of-Trainers on locust management, organized for 24 Master-Trainers from the three countries, in Kakheti, Georgia. They will participate in two sessions, one on locust monitoring and information management, including the Automated System for Data Collection (ASDC) and the “Caucasus and Central Asia Locust Management System” (CCALM), and the other on locust spraying and pesticide risk reduction, delivered by highly specialized FAO experts. The objective of the Training-of-Trainers is to transfer both knowledge and teaching skill and tools. As a second step, the Master-Trainers will organize similar sessions at the national levels, to the benefit of other locust staff. This is organized thanks to the project funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Annual Technical Workshop on Locusts in CCA: back in person!

30/08/2022

Good news: the next annual Technical Workshop on Locusts in CCA will be organized in person, after two consecutive meetings held remotely! It is scheduled on 21-24 November 2022 and it will be hosted in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. The Technical Workshop will gather the countries participating in the FAO “Programme to improve national and regional locust management in the Caucasus and Central Asia (CCA)”. The objectives will be to discuss the lessons learnt from the 2022 national anti-locust campaigns and preparation of the next ones, the implementation of the Programme in 2022 and work plan for 2023, the latest developments regarding the Geographic Information System (GIS) entitled “Caucasus and Central Asia Locust Management System” (CCALM), as well as risk reduction associated with locust control operations.

In-depth CCALM introduction in Uzbekistan

29/07/2022

With the objective to support the use of the Geographic Information System (GIS) entitled “Caucasus and Central Asia Locust Management System (CCALM)”, a visit of the GIS Expert was made in late July 2022 in Uzbekistan to work closely with the Agency of Plant Protection and Quarantine. It allowed delivering a training course to the attention of 25 managers and staff of the Agency on the use of both the Automated System for Data Collection (ASDC) and CCALM. Then, in-depth work was carried out with four staff designated to be responsible for managing the GIS at the national level, allowing practice on the use and issuance of GIS products. This could be done thanks to the regional project funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The two systems, ASDC and CCALM, were developed by FAO and have been introduced in a growing number of CCA countries with a view to improve locust early warning and response.

The E-Committee on CCALM met again!

18/07/2022

On 14 July 2022, over 30 Locust Experts from ten Caucasus and Central Asia (CCA) countries together with FAO specialists and system's developers met online to discuss the improvement of the Geographic Information System (GIS) “Caucasus and Central Asia Locust Management System” (CCALM). It is the second meeting of the E-Committee, which had also gathered one year ago. This year, Experts reviewed and refined algorithms for locust situation analysis and forecasting, including the Selyaninov’s hydrothermal coefficient (HTC), helpfulness of soil temperature data regarding locust hatching; calculation of integral vegetation index (IVI) on the basis of Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), and display the variations of Normalized Difference Water Index (NDWI) at different dates. Improvements of CCALM as well as the Automated System for Data Collection (ASDC), which feeds CCALM were also part of the agenda. High interest was shown by all participants, while ASDC and CCALM are increasingly being used by CCA countries. The meeting was possible thanks to the financial support of two projects respectively funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and of the United Nations Agency for International Development (USAID). 

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

13/07/2022

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

30/06/2022

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

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).

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