Locust Watch
Locusts in Caucasus and Central Asia

News

Discussion on locust management with the Minister for Agriculture of Kazakhstan in FAO headquarters

28/07/2023

On 26 July, the Minister of Agriculture of the Republic of Kazakhstan, His Excellency Yerbol Karashukeyev, visited the new Swiss Centre for Locusts and Migratory Pests during a visit in FAO-Headquarters in Rome. A number of questions were discussed related to locust management, including the use of modern technologies such as Geographical Information Systems and drones to improve locust monitoring, training possibilities abroad for locust experts as well as the need for a permanent body for sustainable management of locusts in Caucasus and Central Asia.

The E-Committee on CCALM met in July

27/07/2023

The E-Committee on CCALM was held on 26 and 27 July 2023, involving more than 40 Locust Experts from all Caucasus and Central Asia (CCA) countries together with FAO specialists and system's developers. This third annual meeting of the E-Committee allowed discussing the use of the Automated System for Data Collection (ASDC) and of the Geographic Information System (GIS) “Caucasus and Central Asia Locust Management System” (CCALM) during the 2022 and 2023 campaigns by countries. Improvements of the two systems were also presented, as well as the linkages between CCALM and existing national GIS, especially from Kazakhstan. Regarding ASDC specifically, in addition to the existing Locust Survey Form and Spray Monitoring Form, the insertion of a third form, for Human Health and Environmental monitoring, was also in-depth discussed. 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). 

Leaflet and poster on the use of biopesticides against locusts!

24/07/2023

Highly selective biopesticides against locusts are being promoted while currently, on average, 4.2 million hectares are treated annually against locusts with large-spectrum chemical pesticides in Caucasus and Central Asia. Both a leaflet and poster on biopesticide use were produced to target decision-makers and technicians/locust experts. The leaflet explains the rationale for choosing biopesticides, which have no negative impact on human health and the environment, and provides information on what they are and how they work. This poster describes the different practical steps regarding biopesticide use against locusts. Such advocacy and extension materials, which are available in English and in Russian, are produced in the framework of the FAO “Programme to improve national and regional locust management in Caucasus and Central Asia (CCA)”, thanks to the financial contributions of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Joint survey between Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan

27/06/2023

A joint survey covering a total of 43 000 ha in Lebap, Turkmenistan, and Kashkadarya, Uzbekistan, was conducted on 31 May-4 June between the Plant Protection Service, Ministry of Agriculture and Environment Protection, Turkmenistan, and the Agency for Quarantine and Plant Protection, Ministry of Agriculture, Uzbekistan. On the Turkmen side of the border, the joint survey, which involved eight experts (four from each country), was carried out on 18 000 ha in Kuytendag, Khojambaz and Darganata districts on 31 May-1 June: Moroccan Locust (DMA) was present as adults, with a maximum density of 10-15 individuals/m2. It was also reported that during the 2023 campaign, 17 395 ha had been treated against DMA in these three border districts, as well as 2659 ha were treated against Large Saxaul Humpback Grasshopper (Dericorys albidula). On the Uzbek side of the border, the survey was conducted by four Uzbek experts on 2-4 June in Nishan and Dehkanabad districts, covering 25 000 ha, including 15 000 ha for the Moroccan Locust and 10 000 ha for the Large Saxaul Humpback Grasshopper. Infestations by both species were observed, especially adult Large Saxaul Humpback Grasshoppers in the areas covered by saxaul shrubs in Nishan district; chemical treatments of infested areas were ongoing. At the end of the joint survey, the participants signed a joint protocol on the main findings, highlighting the importance of cooperation and information exchange. The survey was organized in the framework of the FAO “Programme to improve regional and national locust management in Caucasus and Central Asia (CCA)”, with the financial support of the “Project for improvement of locust management (Phase 2)” approved by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for Central Asia countries.

Demonstration trial on biopesticide use against locusts in Caucasus!

15/06/2023

As biopesticides have a key role to play in anti-locust campaigns respectful of human health and the environment, a demonstration/trial on their use against locusts was held by FAO to the benefit of Caucasus countries in Kakheti, Georgia, on 8-11 June 2023. A total of 32 persons participated, from Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, as well as from Uzbekistan and from Sardinia, Italy, in addition to representatives from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), FAO and Micron. The four-day demonstration included presentations on the use of biopesticides in locust control, field application against hoppers of Italian Locust (CIT) with Metarhizium acridum, mortality assessment (including of treatments conducted about 8-10 days before, biopesticides being slow-acting products) and assessment of absence of impact on non-target organisms in treatments. This event was possible thanks to the strong support of the National Food Agency, Georgia, and with the financial assistance of the USAID-funded project, as part of the FAO “Programme to improve national and regional locust management in Caucasus and Central Asia (CCA)”. It had been preceded by a similar demonstration trial organized to the benefit of Central Asian countries in April 2023, in Jizzakh, Uzbekistan. These two demonstration trials during the 2023 campaign should allow collecting valuable data on the use of biopesticides against the Moroccan and the Italian Locusts and to advocate for their future use, with a view to reduce the negative impact of locust treatments on human health and the environment.

Cross-border survey in Ferghana Valley between Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan

31/05/2023

Kyrgyz and Uzbek Locust Experts carried out a cross-border survey in Ferghana Valley on 16-19 May 2023. Four staff of the Department of Chemicalization, Plant Protection and Quarantine (DCPPQ), Ministry of Agriculture, Kyrgyzstan, and five staff of the Agency of Quarantine and Plant Protection (AQPP), Ministry of Agriculture, Uzbekistan, were involved. The first part of the survey was conducted on 16-17 May in Andijan, Namangan and Ferghana regions of Uzbekistan, and the second part on 18-19 May in Osh, Jalal-Abad and Batken regions of Kyrgyzstan, covering a total area of 18,000 ha in both countries. During the survey, no Moroccan Locust (DMA) was observed in the border areas. It was emphasized that thanks to the regular control operations by the respective services of both countries, no transboundary movement of locusts was observed over the past years. The experts highlighted the importance of information sharing and close cooperation to protect crops and pastures from locust threat, especially in border areas. This cross-border survey between the two countries was the first one after the pandemic of Covid-19. It was held with the support of the "Project for improvement of locust management (Phase 2)" in Central Asia, funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), in the framework of FAO Locust Programme in Caucasus and Central Asia (CCA). 

In-depth CCALM introduction in Turkmenistan

30/05/2023

With the objective to support the introduction and use of the Geographic Information System (GIS) entitled “Caucasus and Central Asia Locust Management System (CCALM)”, the FAO Geographic Information System (GIS) Expert visited Turkmenistan on 15-18 May 2023 and worked closely with the Ministry of Agriculture and Environment Protection (MAEP). The GIS CCALM, together with the Automated System for Data Collection (ASDC), were developed by FAO and have now been introduced to all CCA countries with a view to improve locust early warning and response. During the mission in Ashgabat, a training course was delivered to the attention of 16 managers and staff of the Ministry on the use of both ASDC and CCALM, including field practice in Ak bugday district. Then, in-depth work was carried out with three MAEP staff, allowing practice on the use and issuance of GIS products. It was the first time that such activity was held in Turkmenistan. This could be done thanks to the regional project funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). 

Armenian Locust Experts benefited from a training on locust management

26/05/2023

Twenty Locust Experts from different regions of Armenia benefitted from a training on locust monitoring and management, as well as on the Automated System for Data Collection (ASDC) and the Caucasus and Central Asia Locust Management System (CCALM), on 10-13 May 2023, in Jermuk. The training, delivered by FAO Experts, included theoretical and field components, provided insights on biology and ecology of the Italian and Moroccan Locusts and addressed the basics of the locust preventive strategy, monitoring and control. It also allowed practicing the use of ASDC, both during survey and spray operations, as well as CCALM. The trainees thus learned how to distinguish locust species and developmental stages, how to enter monitoring information into ASDC and how to display and analyze it using CCALM. It was the first training conducted in Armenia in the framework of the FAO “Programme to improve national and regional locust management in Caucasus and Central Asia (CCA)” and it was organized thanks to the project funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Developing a monitoring system of locust control impact on human health and the environment in Turkmenistan

22/05/2023

A brainstorming on the development of a monitoring system of the quality and impact of locust control operations on human health and the environment was carried out in Turkmenistan during a visit of the FAO Environmental Expert to the Ministry of Agriculture and Environment Protection (MAEP), in Ashgabat on 10-19 April. This involved meetings with various entities involved in locust management and allowed reviewing current practices and future options. A field visit was also organized in Ak Bugday District, Ahal Region, allowing to deliver an on-the-job training on monitoring techniques to four experts. Over the past years, similar support was provided to Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and more recently to Uzbekistan. The development of such monitoring system, which resulted in the setting up national Human Health and Environmental Monitoring Teams in four of the above-mentioned countries, has proved to be effective in improving locust control and in supporting pesticide risk reduction. Such assistance to Turkmenistan was provided thanks to the project funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in the framework of the FAO “Programme to improve national and regional locust management in Caucasus and Central Asia (CCA)”.

Demonstration trial on biopesticide use against locusts in Central Asia!

27/04/2023

A demonstration/trial on biopesticides use against locusts is being organized by FAO to the benefit of Central Asian countries in Jizzakh, Uzbekistan, on 25-29 April 2023. This major event aims at introducing biopesticides to Caucasus and Central Asian countries, with the overall objective to reduce the use of chemical pesticides against locusts, in a region where an average of 4.2 million hectares are treated annually. It involves locust experts from the five Central Asian countries and from the Russian Federation, as well as FAO Experts, for a total of 33 participants. The five-day demonstration consists in treatments against hoppers of Moroccan Locust (DMA), with two biopesticides, Metarhizium acridum and Beauveria bassiana. The demonstration includes the following activities: presentation on the use of biopesticides in locust control, field application of the two above-mentioned biopesticides, mortality assessment (including of treatments conducted about 8-10 days before, biopesticides being slow-acting products) and assessment of absence of impact on non-target organisms. The event will end with a round table on results obtained, lessons learnt and recommendations. The demonstration is possible thanks to the project funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) while post-application environmental monitoring is supporting by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), in the framework of the FAO “Programme to improve national and regional locust management in Caucasus and Central Asia (CCA)”.

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