Locust Watch
Locusts in Caucasus and Central Asia

News

Locust cross-border surveys in southern areas of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan

11/04/2023

The first cross-border survey of the 2023 locust campaign in Central Asia was held between Tajikistan and Uzbekistan in early April, involving six staff of the State Entity "Locust Control Expedition", Tajikistan, and five staff of Agency on Quarantine and Plant Protection, Uzbekistan. The locust experts jointly surveyed 70 000 hectares (ha) overall, including 30 000 ha in Khatlon and in the Districts of Republican Subordination, Tajikistan, on 4 and 5 April and 40 000 ha in Surkhandarya, Uzbekistan, on 6-8 April. The Moroccan locust (DMA) was mainly in its 1st and 2nd instars, with a maximum density of hoppers at 200 individuals per square meter in both countries. The cross-border survey offered a good opportunity for joint monitoring and evaluation of the locust situation in border areas. It is important for information sharing and to improve coordination with respect to locust control. It also contributes to maintain a regional technical network and creates a ground for experience exchange between locust specialists. For such reasons, the FAO Locust Programme in Caucasus and Central Asia (CCA) strongly support joint or cross-border surveys between neighboring countries. This survey is 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).

National training sessions are being delivered in CCA at the onset of the locust campaign

21/03/2023

As the locust campaign is about to start, most Caucasus and Central Asia (CCA) countries are organizing national sessions on locust management, with particular attention to locust monitoring and control, pesticide risk reduction as well as the use of the Automated System for Data Collection (ASDC), which in turn feeds the Geographical Information System (GIS) “Caucasus and Central Asia Locust Management System (CCALM)”. Such sessions have already been delivered in Tajikistan, are ongoing in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan and will be organized soon in Turkmenistan as well as in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia. These national sessions are delivered by the national Master-Trainers to other staff involved in locust management with a view to promote best practices and to foster efficient locust monitoring and control. They are part of the two Training-of-Trainers on locust management and follow the regional sessions delivered by FAO Experts for Caucasus countries in September 2022 and for Central Asia countries in October 2022. These ToTs are respectively covered by the projects funded by Unites States Agency for International Development (USAID) and by Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA). 

Exposure visit of Central Asian experts in the national anti-locust center of Morocco!

10/03/2023

An exposure visit/internship is currently ongoing for two experts from Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan in the Moroccan national anti-locust center (Central National de Lutte Antiacridienne - CNLAA).  Organized from 26 February to 12 March 2023, the visit allows to provide to the participating Central Asian experts an overview of the organization, management and functioning of a performing Anti-Locust Centre outside CCA, applying the locust preventive control strategy, both as a single country and as a member of a region together with nine other countries – as in Caucasus and Central Asia (CCA). A number of topics are addressed, including the main habitats of the Moroccan Locust (DMA), locust campaign management, survey, control operations with focus on Ultra-Low Volume (ULV) spraying and monitoring of locust control impact on human health and the environment, including during a field visit in Askaoun (High Atlas). The overall objective is to improve managerial and technical skills of staff involved in locust management, which can subsequently be shared at the national level. This is possible thanks to the availability of CNLAA to host and share its expertise with CCA experts and with the financial support of the FAO “Project for improving locust management”, funded to the benefit of Central Asian countries by the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA). 

A hand-over ceremony of locust survey and control equipment was held in Tajikistan

03/03/2023

FAO officially handed over essential equipment for locust survey and control operations to the State Entity "Locust Control Expedition" (SE-LCE) of the Ministry of Agriculture of Tajikistan (MoA), on 1 March 2023. Such support is provided in the context of the FAO project "Improvement of Locust Management in Central Asia (Phase 2)", funded by Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA), which is a major contribution to the overall FAO Locust Programme for Caucasus and Central Asia (CCA). The provided equipment includes five water tank lorries, five minibuses and camping equipment, to facilitate survey and control operations in the field. The handover ceremony was attended by Mr Q. Hakimzoda, Minister of Agriculture of the Republic of Tajikistan, Mr T. Aiki, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to the Republic of Tajikistan, Mr M. Takasaka, JICA Chief Representative as well as by the head, Mr N. Nozaninzoda, and staff of SE-LCE, in addition to FAO Representatives. The delivered equipment completes the ones already provided for locust survey and control in 2022. This accompanies the delivery of trainings to the benefit of SE-LCE staff under the FAO Programme, both at regional and national levels. Recently, in February 2023, four national sessions on locust control and pesticide risk reduction were organised in Bokhtar, Kulob, Tursunzoda and Khujand, by the Master-Trainers to the benefit of 77 SE-LCE staff. The Master-Trainers had previously received highly-specialized training during the regional sessions organised by FAO in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, in October 2022. The provided knowledge, along with the equipment, will contribute to efficient locust monitoring and control, early warning of locust outbreaks and anticipatory action. 

Regional Workshop on Locust Geographical Information System (GIS) in CCA, February 2023

17/02/2023

The fourth annual regional Workshop on locust data collection, analysis, forecast and reporting in CCA took place online on 16-17 February 2023, gathering up to 56 experts from CCA countries and FAO. Its objective was 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 to have in-depth discussions on possible improvement of both systems. The GIS workshop more specifically allowed to discuss ASDC use last year and ways to increase its coverage during locust survey and control carried out in 2023, as well as the use of CCALM, including of satellite products to analyse locust data. In addition, brainstorming took place on the insertion, in ASDC, of a new form to be used by the Human Health and Environmental Monitoring Teams specifically (in addition to the existing ones, i.e. the Locust Survey Form and the Spray Monitoring Form). As a reminder, 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 workshop is held thanks to support from the regional projects funded by the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

“Get Started with ASDC” (video)

27/01/2023

A tutorial video is now available in English and in Russian, explaining step-by-step how to use the Automated System for Data Collection (ASDC). The system is used on smartphones and tablets by locust staff in Caucasus and Central Asia (CCA) during survey and control operations. It allows digital collection of standardized chrono-, geo- and taxo- referenced locust field data (using two forms, the Locust Survey Form and the Spray Monitoring Form) and it allows real-time transmission of data to the locust GIS entitled “Caucasus and Central Asia Locust Management System (CCALM)”. ASDC is available from the Google Play for most android devices in English, Russian and nine national languages (Armenian, Azeri, Georgian, Dari, Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Tajik, Turkmen and Uzbek). Together with CCALM, it was developed in the framework of the FAO “Programme to improve national and regional locust management in CCA”. This tutorial video on ASDC use was more specifically produced thanks to the support of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

New calendars on safety measures associated with locust control: for Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia

17/01/2023

Whenever conventional chemical are used, precautions should be taken to minimize adverse effects on human health and the environment. Calendars for the year 2023 are thus being made available to rural populations living in locust-affected areas of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, where control operations will be conducted throughout the 2023 campaign. Such calendars, which are adapted to the specific context of each country and produced in national languages, deliver practical messages on safety measures to be adopted by local populations, farmers, shepherds, beekeepers and municipalities before, during and after locust control operations, They will be dispatched by the national services in charge of locust management to local populations in the relevant regions. Such awareness raising material for Caucasus countries is realized by FAO with the financial support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Similar calendars had already being prepared in 2018 to the benefit of Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan and in 2022 for Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, against other funding sources under of the FAO “Programme to improve national and regional locust management in Caucasus and Central Asia (CCA)”.

The report of the annual Technical Workshop on Locusts in CCA, which was held on 21-24 November 2022 in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, has been published. It reports on the discussions held by nine of the ten countries participating in the FAO “Programme to improve national and regional locust management in the Caucasus and Central Asia (CCA)”, resource partners, observers and FAO organizers. This report includes summaries on: the main features of the 2022 national anti-locust campaign in each country and forecast for 2023; the activities implemented as part of the Programme in 2022 and the workplan for 2023; 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 including biopesticides; innovative approaches such as the use of drones; and other technical issues.

The next annual workplan is endorsed by the third Project Steering Committee of the JICA-funded project for Central Asia

21/12/2022

The third Project Steering Committee (PSC) of the “Project to improve locust management (Phase 2)” in Central Asia” was held online on 14 December 2022. It gathered the representatives of five of the six beneficiary countries, 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. It allowed discussing and endorsing the workplan for the project third year, covering the 2023 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.

The annual regional Technical Workshop on Locusts in CCA is held this week!

22/11/2022

The annual Technical Workshop on Locusts in CCA is held on 21-24 November 2022 in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. It gathers nine of the ten countries participating in the FAO “Programme to improve national and regional locust management in the Caucasus and Central Asia (CCA)” (all except Afghanistan) as well as representatives from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and observers, in addition to the FAO organizers. Discussions concern lessons learnt from the 2022 national anti-locust campaign and preparation of the next one, the implementation of the Programme in 2022 and workplan for 2023, 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 including biopesticides, innovative approaches such as the use of drones and other technical issues. This event is possible thanks to the financial support of JICA.

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